Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Chilling in Bonita Springs… Well maybe not chilling…


We sure have been having a great time in the unseasonably warm (well maybe hot) weather here in Bonita Springs Florida. We have been enjoying the park, savoring our last few days with Katie and hitting the beach as often as possible. Katie will fly back home in a few days so we have one more beach excursion planned.  Upon her return Katie has a trip planned to the cold mountains of North Carolina so we sure hope she won't be too “weather shocked.”

imageMs Heyduke© 2015

Now that I have my Ebook, Budgeting for Full Time RV’er, published and behind me I can spend a little more time coming up with a year in review blog or at least a list of favorite campsites or places to see. As we are nearing the end of our second month here in Bonita Springs, Florida I have also started to think about future plans..


The only reservation we currently have is at Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville Louisiana. We will be there from February 19th to March 19th so obviously we are heading west for next season’s travels. We are hoping we don’t get too cold in Louisiana that early in February. We fear we may see our first days of under freezing temperatures during our stay there since we started RV’ing.


We also need to plan our 18 days of February travel prior to our arrival at Betty’s. We'll wait to finalize those plans until after we attend the Tampa RV show in early January. The last time we attended the RV show we ended up with several coupons for free and/or very inexpensive trial camping at several RV parks in Florida. In fact we had more than we could use! With the month of February being one of the priciest months in Florida these coupons would certainly mean large savings on daily rates as we head north and then west.

Between now and the Tampa show we happily have plenty to do in the sun and surf to keep us busy…

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My first Ebook - Budgeting for Full Time RV’er

It has been nearly five years since we left our sticks and bricks house in Texas and I am amazed we are still on the road. I really didn’t expect to travel by RV and live the fulltime lifestyle more than about 3 or 4 years. Yet, here we are approaching the end of year five and we are not yet ready to stop what we are doing.

Over the years we have occasionally presented our budget and tried looking at it from different perspectives. Budgets for this lifestyle are as varied as are budgets for any lifestyle. Depending whether you prefer caviar and champagne or cheap beer and hotdogs there will be a different total number for the budget.

However, there are so many commonalities about what each fulltimer must buy that the totals aren’t the important information. The important part of budgeting for this lifestyle is knowing what changes your sticks and bricks budget will undergo once you transition into a fulltime RV lifestyle. While one may spend less in this lifestyle some will likely spend more.

Every time I wrote a blog about our budget I received a lot of questions and requests for what tool I used for our budget. Over the years I tried to field as many questions as I could and offered advice when asked. I finally decided to spend some time formalizing all that advice as well as cleaning up my budgeting spreadsheet for more general use. This was a great exercise while we have been sitting during this extended stay. The culmination of all this gathering of information and retooling of my spreadsheet is this Ebook – Budgeting for Full Time RV’er.

I planned to offer this book for free at first but realized that I would likely have to personally answer a few questions about the spreadsheet for each person receiving the Ebook. Given that I would need to be available to follow-up with further explanation I decided to publish the Ebook through Amazon and charge for it. In looking at Amazon’s Ebook publishing tools it appears the lowest I can charge is $1.99. I feel this is a fair price for this Ebook especially since the spreadsheet alone would be very helpful to someone wanting to take control of their budget.

My intent is to offer this Ebook to all the aspiring full timers and to those who are fulltiming now but need some organization for their budgeting. The Ebook discusses the various budget categories we felt were significant and there are tips scattered through out the Ebook about ways to reduce costs in some of the expense categories. My hope is that this Ebook and spreadsheet will assist those in need and is my way of giving back some of the things we have learned during our last (almost) five years of traveling on the road.

Purchasers of the Ebook will need to email us with a request for the spreadsheet. Just send us the request along with proof of purchase from Amazon and we will send the accompanying spreadsheet. If you have any questions about the book or spreadsheet just ask us and we will gladly reply as quickly as we can!

Happy budgeting on the Road of Retirement…

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

21 Gadgets for your favorite RV’er (Updated)

Here are 21 great gadgets or gift ideas to get for your favorite RV’er :
Selfie Stick With a Shutter Button – Everybody who takes pictures needs one of these to get a new perspective on their photos.
Flexible Mini Tripod – Want to take a group shot or a time lapse photo of something and need a tripod? Here is a solution for your digital camera, smart phone or mini-cam.
“RV” the movie DVD – Every RV’er really needs to watch this hilarious movie about the lighter side of RV’ing. Get one today!
Water Bandit – This is a must have for RV’ers who like to use National Parks, State Parks and US Forest Service campgrounds. This little blue wonder will attach to any water source!
RV (Widescreen Edition)
Small Bubble LevelsNeed to get level then this is a small item you really should have! Use these bubble levels to get your rig to near perfect levelness!
Quick Hose Connect – Make life easy with these quick connect/disconnects and make hooking up your water hoses quick and easy!
Water Pressure Regulator - Protect your RV plumbing against high pressure with one of these nifty little attachments. Garden Hose Splitter or Y-valve – Get one of these ergonomic hose splitters and you will be glad you got rid of your old one. It's now much easier to open/close the valves as well as easier to install and operate!
Product DetailsCamco 40064 Brass Water Pressure Regulator with Gauge
Rubber Shelf Liners – Tired of your dishes and utensils sliding around in your RV and making noise when traveling. Then buy some shelf liner and cut it to custom fit your cabinets and drawers. No more sliding and no more noise.
Microfiber Dish Drying Mat – Every RV kitchen needs one of these small but efficient matts for drying dishes on.
Life is Good Coffee Cup – Get something whimsical and fun for your favorite RV’er to wake up to every morning.
LED Waterproof Shoelaces – Another fun and whimsical  stocking stuffer are these shoe laces that light up at night. They also are great for safety while walking late at night.
Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details
Exercise Resistance Bands – Are you into fitness and staying in  shape then these portable exercise bands are the perfect gift. If you have a small set of weights then a set of these will make your outdoor gym complete.
Heavy Duty RV Tire Gauge –We all know that checking our tire pressure on our RV is extremely important. So pick up one of these heavy duty tire gauges.
Quakehold Museum Putty – Want your pictures to stay up and not fall down? Don’t want to make holes in the walls. Here you go… museum putty works on any surface.
RV Slideout Corner Guards – Tired up hitting your head on the corner of your slide-out? Get rid of the those swimmers noodles and use these.
Product DetailsSlime 2020-A Dually RV Dial Tire Gauge 10-160 PSI
LED Headlamp – Grilling at night? Need to get something out of a bin? When you need to use both your hands and still see this is the perfect stocking stuffer.
Digital Wireless Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer – Need to know how chilly it is outside? Then this device that displays indoor and outdoor temperatures is just what you need.
Self Powered LED Flashlight – Ever need a flashlight and when you grabbed it the batteries were dead? Make sure that never happens again with this self-powered LED light. Simply wind it up and it's shining bright for you.
                                                    Duracell 60-063 Smart Power Self Powered LED XL Flashlight

Passport America, Save 50% on CampsitesLastly get a stocking stuffer that will save your favorite RV’er a bunch of cash when they go camping. Get them a one year Membership to Passport America. For only $44.00 your favorite RV’er will save 50% off at over 1900 campgrounds.
We have been members for nearly five years and we have stayed at many of these campgrounds. While they may not be all glamorous resorts many of them are among some of our favorite places to stop…. and we get them all for 50% off! What a deal!!!!
Stocking stuffers are a great way to show a person how much you care and/or love them. Not sure what to get them then one of the best stocking stuffers you could get them would be an Amazon Gift Card!  Search this link for gift cards to your favorite spot for your favorite RV'er. Who wouldn’t want one of these in their stockings!
We are having fun here in Bonita Springs, Florida and one of the things we love about staying in a place for an extended period is that we have a mailing address. We have been buying lots of goodies and having them delivered to our winter home. Sharon commented the other day how much she loved having a home address but was also saddened by the fact that she missed getting Christmas Cards from friends.

Merry Christmas from the Hintons in “Snowy” Florida!


Where did the year go? Here we are in Southwest Florida with Christmas Day nearing and the end of the year within sight. It is hard to believe we have been here in Florida for neary two months! Although the calendar says it is almost Christmas we really wounldn’t know it from our weather. We have experienced near record high temperatures  so other than the shorter days I would have no clue it was the end of December. Christmas day is predicted to reach a record high of 87 degrees!!!

imageimageimageTo get in the Christmas spirit we decided to head south to the city of Naples, Florida.  We remembered from years past that Naples seemed to have the most Christmas decorations than any other town around us. We parked right on 5th Avenue in one of the many free parking spots and started walking around.


imageNaples FL 007

We were surprised to see less Christmas decorations in Naples than we had remembered although it simply could be we really didn’t remember as well as we thought we did. Nevertheless we still had fun walking around Naples, taking pictures and goofing off. While we can’t be with our whole family during Christmas we sure do enjoy having Katie visiting us.

Naples FL 005Naples FL 008

We hope all our readers, followers, stalkers, friends and family have a most excellent Christmas Day. May it be filled with great food,  fun and frolic. We feel as full timers, it isn’t really about the presents as Christmas to us is all about the experiences! Not to mention it is a whole lot easier to pack experiences in our limited storage! Merry Christmas!

Naples FL 006

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Friends and Fun in Florida…


It sure is a lot of fun having Katie here but before she came we were also having a lot of fun with our RV friends who have landed in the same location as us. We first met Terry and Jeri in Quartzite Arizona and really enjoyed their company. Now we are both here in Bonita Springs at the same time. Even better a couple they know whom we had heard about also came with them and are also staying in the same park as us.


So what should six RV’ers that all have something in common do? We’ll have a happy hour of course! Jeri texted us one day and said that there was going to be a get together at either their place or Janice and Jerry’s place. We hadn’t met Jerry and Janice yet so we were definitely in for this get together. Later we learned the get together was going to feature a low country boil as well as some seared scallops. Wow!! Sharon made her really fabulous homemade artisan bread and we brought a nice bottle of wine.

imageKayaking Lovers Key SP 002

We all gathered at Jerry and Janice’s place and where we had a great time sharing stories, laughter and great food. I can say that this is one of the best parts about RV’ing… making friends with others who share a common interest. Before we retired we had our own group of close friends but the friends we have made on the road have been wonderful in that we have so much in common. Do we still love our friends from back home? Of course we do but we would not trade the experience of meeting these wonderful new people who, like us, love this lifestyle.

Kayaking Lovers Key SP 006

We had so much fun in our get together we decided to plan a nice kayak outing. The next morningl we loaded up and were on our way.  The plan was to rendevous with anther couple who our friends knew but we hadn’t met yet. We all arrived at the originally planned kayak outing spot and started to take the ropes off securing the kayaks when after some discussion we decided to try a different spot.


Kayaking Lovers Key SP 012

So we piled back into the truck and moved further south until the kayaks all decided to take flight and flew out of the back of the truck! Yikes! We have the least expensive kayak of everyone but ours was the only one that escaped undamaged. Our Sevylor Kayak may cost less than 100 bucks but Sharon and I can both paddle with ease and this inexpensive kayak is really all we need.Terry and Jerri had to rent one as theirs suffered catestophic damage and Jerry and Janice had to make some minor patches on theirs. After all the excitement we all finally entered the paddling trail at Lover's Key State Park!

Kayaking Lovers Key SP 008Kayaking Lovers Key SP 009

It had been a while since we kayaked but we had no issues with our “toy boat” and had a blast  floating with friends among the mangroves. Lots of birds were hanging out in the thickets and there were even a few fishermen out all proclaiming that the fish were biting. Too bad I didn’t have my rod and reel with me. Nevertheless we had a really fun day on the water and look forward to kayaking again sometime soon, hopefully amongst some manatees next time!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Katie visiting during her Christmas Break…

Barefoot Beach and Taste of Bonita 037

Well it is great to be back blogging and I am sure grateful for the bunch of energetic coders out there who took on the task of upgrading Window’s deprecated product Windows Live Writer. Now that Open Live Writer is working with blogger and there are creative people interested in making it not only work but improving it I am anxious to see what improvements there will be in the near future.

Barefoot Beach and Taste of Bonita 018Barefoot Beach and Taste of Bonita 026

So, what have we been up to? Well our daughter flew into Punta Gorda about a week ago and we have been having fun showing her the sights and sounds of Bontia Springs. Katie is on break from her Doctor of Physical Therapy Schooling at Campbell University and has been looking forward to spending some time on the beach with us in south Florida.


Not to disappoint we spent a few days of beach time at Barefoot Beach Preserve. We did a little shelling,I did a little fishing, and the girls went for long beach walks. I finally landed something big enough to eat equalling about a pound of Gaftopsail catfish filets that will make for some tasty fish tacos. With the cost of my $50 out-of-state fishing license it means I paid $50 per pound for the fish I have caught so far.  I sure have some work to do to reduce that price down to 4 or 5 bucks per pound…


Katie is also having fun getting involved with pickleball and some of the other park activities. She had never played pickleball before but with her athletisism she picked up the sport right away, Katie has always been a natural at anything having to do with eye hand coordination. She is especially having fun thowing bean bags at the weekly competition held here at Imperial Bonita Estates each Wednesday evening. In the days ahead we plan some trips for biking, kayaking, visiting the dog races, Naples and of course some other beaches.  


There have been daily requests for me cook a lot of Katie’s favorites so I have made her some Texas Carnitas, some Cajun Red Beans and Rice as well as some Texas smoked baby backed ribs. Sharon chipped in some homemade southern biscuits and sausage gravy so yep, we are spoiling her! She really seems to be enjoying her well deserved 3 week winter break. We plan to do the same for our son and his family when we get back through Texas in the Spring…