Friday, July 29, 2011

Farewell Howie

It is bittersweet to report that our old, trusty RV Howie (House On Wheels Is Excellent) has moved on down the road with a new owner. After two months of first prepping for the sale and then placing him on the market, we had a buyer show up yesterday that closed the deal within three hours. Although we are glad to have the deal done, it was sad to see him go.

For two years Howie was more than just a recreational vehicle to us. He was our home and a good machine that safely transported us through many incredible travels. He provided warmth in the winter, cool air in the summers, fabulous meals throughout the country, grand vistas as we drove through mountain passes and low-country deltas, the opportunities to see and visit places we had never been before, the blessing of spending time with family and the chance to make many new friends. He gave us deep, rich memories that will be with us for a lifetime.

Merrian-Webster's dictionary defines the word farewell as "a wish of well-being at parting." That is exactly how we feel right now. Goodbye Howie. Have good travels ahead and thank you for everything old friend.

copyright 2009-2011 Lane A Geyer
photos by Deb

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A New Home

It's been a busy week here at Kelly's RV Park in White Springs, FL. It has also been HOT! As I write this post the temps. are nearing 100 and the long-range forecast calls for more of the same over the next two weeks. Ah, summer in Florida. Although the heat made the move into our new home a tad uncomfortable, the garden is loving it. As the above pictures show, everything is growing well and producing a tremendous amount of vegetables. There is great joy in cooking and tasting vegetables that are picked fresh from the garden. Given the current prices for vegetables purchased in supermarkets, we are blessed to have this garden available to us.

On the first of this month we officially moved into our new home. (See pictures above.) It is a three year old, 37 ft. Crossroads Zinger that includes a roomy deck (which Quincy loves) and a storage shed. We are still slowly settling our stuff into place, but are amazed at how much more room we have compared to our old 32 ft. motorhome. With a large slider in the living area and a smaller one in the bedroom it is now possible for us to move around without bumping into one another. The unit is in spotless condition both inside and out with beautiful layouts in every room. One of the biggest benefits for us is a kitchen with ample counterspace and a full size refrigerator. After living two years in a much smaller space, this place feels like a mansion.

Although our old, trusty RV Howie has been good to us and provided a wonderful journey filled with priceless memories, our decision to move was based on two major factors. One was that our friends, Peggy and Tom, made us an offer for purchasing this place that was simply too good to pass up. It's a rare opportunity to be able to upgrade in ways that require very little effort to move and still comfortably fit within a monthly budget. Once again, our thanks must be offered to them for making this opportunity possible at this time.

The other factor is the changing nature of full-time RV living. When we began our journey two years ago the economic realities were much different than they are today. With rising gas prices, rising food prices and rising site fees at RV parks it has become increasing difficult to maintain a lifestyle of constantly living and traveling in an RV unless one has an unlimited income. When you're driving a vehicle that has an 80 gallon gas tank and gets only 8-10 miles per gallon at best it doesn't take long to plow through a large pile of money. Although we still plan to continue our travels in the future, the best way to approach our RV lifestyle at this point is to be practical about adapting to the current economic realities.

For better or worse, we are not the only ones in the RV lifestyle who are rethinking their future travel plans. In just this park alone, there are at least six couples who stayed here last winter that will not be returning next season. Several have been staying here for years. Two have obtained work camping positions and the others have decided to halt their RV travels for various reasons. Although new RV production is predicted to climb slightly during this year, the current trend for RV use is shorter trips and more full-time travelers becoming long-term residents as opposed to short-term or seasonal visitors. As Bob Dylan sang years ago, "The times they are a changing."

For the next week we will be busy getting Howie ready for sale. Let's just hope it cools down a little. Happy Trails everyone.
Copyright 2009-2011 Lane A Geyer
Photos by Lane

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011


To say that it's been busy here at Kelly's RV Park in White Springs, FL since the last post would be the understatement of the year. I swear to myself after each post to add a new one on a more regular basis than I have the past few months, but things have always come along that require my time and energies. That is especially true over the past month and a half. Changes have come at us so fast it's been hard to keep up with them. But as you will discover toward the end of this entry, one major change has occurred that came out of nowhere and has sent our RV life in a whole new direction.

A steady change here at Kelly's over the past month has been the departure of the Snowbirds who headed back North for the summer season. What was a place packed full of RVs over the winter is now a park with only about 15 of us long-term, diehard Crackers who choose to sweat it out over the summer. It's was hard to say good-bye to the many friends we made over the past months, but that's the nature of living in Florida. People come and go on a seasonal basis. After a few years of living here you get used to the rhythm, but it's always strange to go from being surrounded by a lot of people to looking outside and seeing empty lots.

The major task I have had lately has been keeping up with the changes and growth in the community garden. Man, has it grown fast. As the above pictures show, what was once a piece of barren ground has exploded into a beautiful, productive showcase of vegetables. Over the past month we have harvested lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, shell peas, sugarsnap peas, bush beans, pole beans, squash and tomatoes. Everything else is coming along at a fast pace and, within the next week, we will be planting a second rotation of crops. Although it requires a great deal of work, this garden is providing us with some very good eats. Given the price of produce in the supermarkets these days, I am willing to dedicate as much energy as is necessary to keep this garden as productive as possible. Besides, there's no better place to feel connected with life than around growing plants.

Now for the really big news. (Always save the best for last!) As of June 1st, we will be moving into a new RV here at Kelly's. It was not a move we had planned or expected to make at this time, but an opportunity came along that was just to good to pass up.

When we arrived here a year ago two of the first people we met were Peggy and Tom. Tom has lived here for many years and they both quickly became very dear friends with us. After a recent road trip, they returned to announce that they had purchased a double-wide with property in Lake Pleasant, FL. Out of the blue, they quickly offered to sell us their 37 ft., Zinger pull behind RV with terms that we simply could not refuse. It sits on a very large, padded spot with no other units on either side. As it worked out, it is the next spot over from where we are now which will make for a very easy move. The RV is only three years old and is loaded with nice amenities like a large slideout in the central living area, a washer and dryer, a full-size refrigerator and a large deck. Needless to say, we are thrilled and feel very blessed to be given this opportunity.

In my next post, which I promise will be soon, I'll include some pictures of our new digs and explain further why we chose to make this move. Although our old, trusty RV Howie (House On Wheels Is Excellent) has been very good to us and provided exciting travels over the past two years, there are many changes going on in the full-time RV lifestyle that require a fresh prospective on the future.

In the mean time, we have serious packing to complete and more vegetables to grow.

Copyright 2009-2011 Lane A. Geyer
Photos by Deb & Lane
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

A New Awning & A Garden

It has been raining for two days straight here at Kelly's RV Park in White Springs, FL. Hard rains. Heavy downpours of the intensity that makes one start to consider building an ark. In the span of just three hours yesterday afternoon we were deluged with almost 2.5 inches from a storm that moved into the area after building moisture across the Gulf. Although we badly needed the moisture, rains of that intensity caused concern for two new projects that have occurred since our last post. One is a new awning that we placed on our trusty RV Howie (House On Wheels Is Excellent) and the other is a community garden we have been heavily working on for the past several month.

As I reported in a post from last July, our old awning suffered major damage due to another major rain event and was beyond the point of repair. We were able to roll it up enough to cover the tear in the seam, but after one more winter of wear and tear the time had come for declaring the point of no return. There were major leaks developing across the canvas and, with the coming summer heat, we need an awning that can be fully extended across the patio. After all, it was 25 years old and had lived a good life. Thankfully, with the help of many good and experienced friends here at the park, and the chance to obtain a new canvas cheap at Bob's RV Salvage in High Springs, FL, we are now enjoying the comforts of a very secure, camel colored awning that can be fully extended!

As the above picture shows, it is no easy task to replace an awning. It is a job that requires the help of at least four people and the expertise to mount and adjust the support arms properly. This was especially true for our awning because of its size. It measures 21 feet between the support arms and has a 20.2 feet canvas. Luckily, by the time we mounted ours everyone shown in the picture had gained plenty of experience in the process. This was the sixth awning we all helped to replaced on numerous RVs here at the park over the past five months. Along the way, there were enough parts left over to also fully replace our support arms and add a much needed center support post. We have to give a big shout-out to all the guys in the picture for their invaluable help. They are true craftsmen who unselfishly completed a task that would have cost a fortune if done at an RV repair shop. It is a true blessing to be surrounded by so many giving and talented people. It is a tribute to their work that the canvas withstood the downpours yesterday with absolutely no problems.

The downpours also, thankfully, had little negative effects on the community garden. The second picture shows the garden during the first week of planting in the last week of February. This is a project that has been in development for months with the clearing of land, the application of several loads of good top-soil, the erection of a 5 foot fence around the entire perimeter and the planting of a large variety of vegetables. It is large enough to accommodate thirty rows spaced 3 feet apart measuring 36 feet in length, plus four additional rows measuring 40 feet in length.

Currently, we have cucumbers, sugar beets, 18 different varieties of tomatoes, 6 varieties of peppers, pole beans, onions, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, califlower, lettuce, radish, sugar snap and shell peas, spinach, carrots, bush beans, 5 varieties of squash, eggplant, collard greens and four different varieties of potatoes planted and growing well. Some of the potatoes have already required mounding, there are cherry tomatoes developing and the cucumbers, squash and shell peas are beginning to blossom. Needless to say, over the next few months we will all be enjoying a bounty of good eats. All we need now is a few days of warm sun to dry everything out again.

Until next time, Happy Trails everyone.

Copyright Lane A Geyer 2009-2011
Photos by Deb
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Changing Spaces & A Dog Wedding

It's hard to believe that so much time has past since my last post. Although a stretch of cold, damp weather keep everyone indoors for most of January, there has been plenty of activity here at Kelly's RV Park in White Springs, FL. Deb and I have stayed busy with our work/camp duties and spending time around the campfire almost every evening. With the increase of people around the park during the winter months, there's always an activity or event taking place.

One of our undertakings a few weeks ago was moving our trusty RV Howie (House On Wheels Is Excellent) to another lot. The new lot is only two spaces away from our old one, but provides a better setting. The patio is 2 feet wider and there is no one parked on the South side, which provides us with a nice view of trees and grass. The other advantage to the location is that there will more more shade from the trees as the sun gets higher and hotter during the coming months.

A lesson learned during the move is that a motor home needs to have the batteries charged and the motor run on a regular basis if it sits in one place for an extended period of time. I already knew that, but became complacent about completing those tasks for too many months. Howie ran and sounded good once the engine was started, but needed a battery charge and a jump to gets things going. Note to self, charge the batteries and run the engine on a regular basis from now on.

One of the most unique events to take place here over the past few weeks was the marriage of our dog Quincy to Daisy Mae, the dog of our neighbors Judy and Al. Since Daisy Mae arrived here from Canada for a winter stay, Quincy and her have been madly in love. Every time they are together, they roll around and constantly kiss like two lovesick teenagers. 

The ceremony took place on a beautiful Valentine's Day afternoon. As you can see from the above pictures, the bride and groom were all decked out for the event and were showered by gifts of numerous dog treats. About 15 people and 6 dogs were present to witness and celebrate the blessed union and all in attendance had a great time. Although the event was unique to say the least, it provided a great afternoon of entertainment. With over 50 dogs residing in the park right now, any event that includes dogs is always a big hit with their human owners.

The warmer temperatures over the past two weeks has also brought a flurry of repairs and improvements to many of the RV around the park. One of the great benefits of living in an RV park is the number of people who have the time, tools and expertise to undertake almost any repair task. So far, the local crew has stayed busy rebuilding a complete set of brakes, replacing and/or repairing over four awnings and patching a broken holding tank. It's a blessing to be surrounded with so many people who so freely give of their time and talents. The amount of money saved on these projects is thousands of dollars when compared to the same repairs being completed at an RV repair shop.

Until next time, we hope everyone is enjoying warmer weather.

Copyright 2009-2011 Lane A Geyer

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Big Campfire & Plumbing Problems

It's been a time of big campfires and plumbing problems lately here at Kelly's RV Park in White Springs, FL. We've enjoyed some nice days with temps. in the high 60's and more nights of temps. below freezing. The two space heaters we use to keep our old RV warm have worked wonderfully for keeping us toasty at night. I've been warned several times by relatives who live in colder climates to stop whining about the weather here, so I won't say I'm cold. I'll just say that I'm looking forward to warmer weather.

The pictures above were taken on New Year's Eve when we enjoyed a wonderful party around the campfire. A few of the neighbors decided it would be a good idea to burn a very large log in celebration of the new year, so they placed it into the fire ring about three in the afternoon. Shortly after that people convinced Al, one of our long-term residents, to have his picture taken while sitting on top of it. As you can see from his expression, the log was already getting very warm. But, as the picture also shows, everyone else got a good laugh out of the experience.

Since my last post I have also spent a great deal of time dealing with plumbing problems in our RV Howie (House On Wheels Is Excellent). Within the past few weeks both the water pump and toilet sprang leaks, leading to wet carpets and the joys of replacing both parts. Although I have done a good deal of plumbing in my life, it is not a job I enjoy. It's something that requires working in tight spaces, dealing with connections that must be very precise and, in the case of an RV, tracking down parts that are not easily found in most hardware stores. Let's just say that a good time was not had by all.

Actually, replacing the water pump was a relatively easy task. In our unit it is located directly below the bathroom sink and easily accessed. The job only took about an hour and, so far, the water pressure has been great.

Replacing the toilet, however, turned out to be one huge pain in the you-know-what! First of all, the only way to remove most old RV toilets is by reaching around the back to remove the water line connections and rear mounting bolt. There is no way to see what you are doing because there's not enough space to get your head down far enough to see anything. Everything must be done by feel, which is frustrating at best.

Once the old toilet was removed, the real fun began with trying to hook-up the water line to the new toilet. The new one we put in is higher than the old one, so an additional flex-hose was needed to connect the incoming water connection to the toilet.  Unfortunately, the standard toilet hoses found in hardware stores are designed for home plumbing specifications, which do not match the specifications for RVs. To make a long story short, after several trips to Home Depot and a full day of work the new toilet is now connected and working well.

If you ever need to find any parts for an RV, I would highly recommend We ordered both the new water pump and toilet through them and had nothing but excellent results. Their prices are very reasonable, they immediately confirmed the orders complete with Fedex tracking numbers and both parts are covered with solid warranties. If needed, they will definitely be getting more of our business.

Until next time, Happy Trails Everyone.

Copyright 2009-2011 Lane A Geyer
Photos by Karen
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!

It's hard to believe how the time has passed so quickly since my last post. I hate going so long without providing even small updates, but it's been a very busy month here at Kelly's RV Park in White Springs, FL. Between working, taking a short trip back to Greenville, SC for the family Christmas gathering and doing the usual holiday things, we have had little time to do anything else.

The park is looking very festive these days. Along with our old, trusty RV Howie (House on Wheels is Excellent), most of the other RV's here are adorned with lights, wreaths and other decorations. It's been nice to see the lights around the park while spending time around the campfire ring. The other decorations we are seeing is holiday sweaters on dogs, including Quincy. We now have 51 dogs in the park and most of them are usually wearing sweaters. I'll admit, it's been cold here for several weeks with temps. below freezing many nights. But I still have to wonder about the need for a dog to wear a sweater; especially in Florida. I've mentioned this to Deb several times and the usual response is that it's "because he looks so adorable". Ok, I'll accept that, but I still say there's something wrong about a male dog wearing a sweater in Florida. So much for owning a masculine, protective animal. I guess he can just scare away all threats with his cuteness.

Last Thursday through Sunday, we returned to Greenville for a very nice gathering with the family. Quincy went with us, was very good the whole time, and ended up being very spoiled by my father who snuck him pieces of cheese. Because gas is currently $3 per gallon in this area, we decided to give Howie a rest and rented a car for the journey. While we were there we indulged in another great meal from Bucky's Bar-B-Que and, once again, bask in the pleasure of cooking the meal for the gathering in a full-size kitchen. We love Howie, but cooking in an RV kitchen can prove to be limiting at best.

One of the strange things about the trip is that we both felt as if we had never left the area last May. It was like returning home in many ways. One year ago we were parked at the Flower Mill RV Park in Taylors, SC for a 5 month stay. It's hard to believe that our lives have changed so much since we were there. Where did the time go? We both feel very blessed that since leaving Taylors we have found a place that has brought us so much joy and so many true friends. It's the best Christmas present we could have hoped for this year!

For the rest of the week we plan to continue enjoying the holiday spirit around the park and enjoying the nightly campfires while sharing time with friends. There is a cookie exchange today that Deb is attending and, on Christmas Day, we will be taking part in a huge meal in the clubhouse. We hope that everyone has an equally enjoyable week and is blessed with the joys of the season.

The best Christmas of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up with one another.

Copyright 2009-2010 Lane A Geyer
Photos by Deb
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