The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Doing Our Homework

If you have read my previous posts you have discovered that we are “lifelong learners” and that I am a former Public Information Officer, Journalism/Communications Professor, and I’m anal….

Since retiring in 2004 we have also become “rally rats” where going to seminars and socializing with other RVers often influences our travel destinations.  We have attended 5 Escapee Club Escapades, 3 Gypsy Journal Gatherings, 2 FMCA Western Regional Rallies, 2 Winnebago Grand National Rallies, 1 Monaco Coming Home Rally and even a Freightliner Chassis weekend clinic.  As Escapee Boomers we have attended many “Boomerville” fire-pit sessions and, of course, sat around Happy Hours and evening bonfires learning everything we could about the RV lifestyle – both the technical stuff and the travel side of roaming the country.

We are NOT full-timers (some would call us “extended” or “long-timers) on the road.  Our “Winter Trip” normally takes us to various locations in Southern California and Arizona January through mid-April.   We return home to Northern California to do the various family fixes, health appointments, and prepare our residential property for fire season [we live in a designated wildland fire risk area and must pass inspection annually to keep the proper “fire safe” 100’ clearances].

Come late-May, however, we get hitch-itch and then we are off exploring until November.  We are home for the holidays, get that family fix again, and then we head out the first of the year to do it all again.

This year the big trip will start with a jaunt up to Alaska for 2-3 months and then back down into the lower-48 for the Boomers Black Hills ‘Rang in SD, Escapade in Gillette, WY and then down through Colorado and into New Mexico where we will host 40 Boomer rigs at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

So it has been homework time.

Our best resources have been RVers who have been there, done that!  And where best to find those experiences than on the Escapee Discussion Forum and among our fellow Boomers. [For our non-RVing readers, the “Boomers” are a subgroup within the parent Escapees RV Club.  While we belong to a number of RV Clubs and Escapee chapters and groups, we identify most with the very active Boomers.  “It is not an age thing, but a state of mind.”]

Back in November I started a thread in the SKP Discussion Travel thread Alaska – 2011 asking for hints and recommendations. There have been over 100 responses and many folks who have gone before have posted many other discussion threads and/or forwarded their own blogs and travel journals. There have been a similar responses from the Boomers Website and the Boomers Yahoo BBB.

Spending January down in Quartszite, AZ  gave us the opportunity to collect still more recommendations and LOTS of literature. 

I’ve been called a “Bag Lady” more than a few times after attending a conference or an RV rally.  Give me “stuff” and I’ll have a cloth bag (I’m trying to think “green”) that then gets toted back to the motorhome.  Q was no IMG_2999disappointment for gathering “research” materials.  Each of the Canadian Provinces and the Alaska Tourist Bureaus had well-stocked booths at the “Big Tent” during the annual RV Show.  Welcoming staff were eager to fill my bags with glossy brochures to entice us to stay a few extra days in their part of the world.  [Staying with our weight-conscious rule of new things into the rig means old things out of the rig, I had to sort through all my 2010 “bags” to compensate for the new load.  Here’s hoping I didn’t screw up the rig’s weight balance!]

Boomerville also provided an opportunity for Traveling Alaska talks around the firepit and an evening slide show on a fly-in/rental trip to AK.

The most consistent advice we got was: IMG_3003IMG_3002





 (1) Get Mike and Terry Church’s Alaska Camping and their Pacific Northwest books since we would be leaving from California,

(2)  Order the The Milepost 2011 Edition -- the bible of what to see and do along the way,  and

(3)  Get the 2011 TourSaver Coupon Book which includes two-for-one deals that clearly pays for itself in just one or two uses..





NEXT: “You’re just going to Alaska and not climbing Mount Kilimanjaro…”


Sue and Doug said...

love all those glossy magazines with the picture perfect photos in them!!..happy trails to you as you head towards your dream of an Alaskan adventure!

Merikay said...

sounds like what I would do if I had the chance. I love to plan.