The story of a simple man, learning to live a simpler life, in an increasingly complicated world. My adventures in the toy hauler with my fur-babies and an old Harley. Please stay tuned..............
Now A Proud Member of Hitchitch.com
I feel like I have made the BIG TIME. My blog has been picked up byHitchitch.com. This is how I started my adventure....by reading about other full-timer RV blogs. Thanks Ron and Terry!!! Thank you, Maryanne. I am listed on her great site Frugal RV. These are great reference sources.
One question I've been asked by many is, are you happy? Well, I can tell you that I'm contented. I am nine months into my journey as a full-time RV'er, so I'm starting to get accustomed to my new lifestyle. Some things about my lifestyle in my RV, I absolutely love. Other things, not so much. One of the first things I notice that I really enjoyed was not having to pay property tax on my old house. I had paid tax on it for 25 years. When the time came around, I was so very happy to keep that money in my pocket. I have found that full coverage insurance on my fifth wheel is about the same that I paid on my house, so that part would be a push. One of the things I don't like about my RV is that it is a depreciating asset. That means that the value goes down, instead of up. I've happy I solved my two most pressing problems in the last month. I was absolutely lost without satellite television, but I got all that done. (It's on my last post) My major concern was what was I going to do for Internet service? My first solution was tethering to my cell phone. That worked pretty good, except I only got about six gigs a month before they started charging. A lot! Next, I got a Verizon MiFi gizmo and charged it as I needed it. Really, ten gigs was about $90. It didn't take me to to long to retire that idea. Finally, Roxi over at The Good Luck Duck, left me a comment and said, "You've probably looked into Millenicom? If AT&T doesn't work for you, their Hotspot plan is Verizon." You know, I never have looked into Millenicom. Thanks to that good advice, I did look into it. Here's a look at what they have to offer..........
After much thought and consideration, I decided to go with their "unlimited plan". It just so happens, I live in an area outside of Daytona that is serviced by Sprint, and my particular area has LTEplus. This is turned out to be the fastest Internet I've ever had. Compared to what I got in my house, 4mbps, I get 27mbps!! It absolutely screams. I'm glad I waited, and didn't do anything dumb before I discovered this. I almost went with Hughes net, but Billy Bob said "No never no, don't do it!" I took his advice and I'm glad that I did. This wonderful Internet is delivered to me by a Sprint dongle. After a little research, I ordered a cradle point from Amazon, and things are going great. I had to get the new modem, because dongle's don't go into just any modem, it has to be a special one. The cool thing about the cradle point, is it sets up a hotspot all around my RV. Now I have no unnecessary wires running anywhere, I just being wireless.
Have you guys seen Chromecast? It is also really awesome. I got mine from Amazon.com.(here). Since I was in the first wave of people to buy these, they threw in three free months of Netflix. Go ahead and read the description from the Amazon page, so you get an idea of how it works. Movies, YouTube, or anything else that's compatible with Google Chrome, goes wireless from my laptop, which is wireless, and to that device. It's plugged into a slot behind my TV. So very, very cool.
I decided to upgrade my patio a little bit, as you can see in the picture below. I really do like my shade screen. I went to Camping World in San Augustine, and shopped for shade screens, and found they wanted one hundred dollars or more for them. In fact, the ones that they wanted $100 for were smaller than the ones you see on my awning. Once again, saved by the Internet. What you see is a mesh tarp that is used to cover a dump truck. It's actually bigger than what you buy for an RV, but not so big that it didn't fit my 20 foot awning perfectly. Those are new carpets on the ground, and I also got a new director's chair with sidetable. This is absolutely the best place for morning coffee, while listening to Sirius XM outlaw country. When you let it be, life's pretty sweet!
As you can see, I have been feathering my nest some, and adjusting to my new lifestyle, a lot! In a week and a half, it will be Biketoberfest (click) in Daytona, and I will be right back into my element. Honestly, I hadn't planned on staying in Florida this long, but what can one do? I'm not about to leave right before the second biggest motorcycle rally in Florida. I am missing me some Tex-Mex food, and good ol' Texas music. I haven't made my mind up, but I may be doing the Austin, Texas area for Thanksgiving. My favorite aunt will be celebrating her 90th birthday, and I don't want to miss that.
Thanks everyone! I will be back in touch. Michael Ultra
I don't know about you guys, but we have had some excitement around here. Last week's adventures included my brother's birthday party, swimming in the swimming pool with my nephew Jake, and his parents, going to see The Man of Steel movie, and last but not least, going to the Daytona International Speedway, for my very first NASCAR race, the Coke 400. Those people at the Speedway really know how to put on a race. It began with a concert by Sheryl Crow, followed by a very exciting NASCAR race, and capped off with a fireworks spectacular. Here's a few pictures from it, but it's really hard to capture of car race with a point-and-shoot camera. All in all, it was a fantastic time.
The Fly Over
Wrecked by our Seats
I have solved some of my problems with access to the modern world. If you remember on the last post, I asked about Internet service and some kind of TV that isn't antenna. I ended up getting the Dish Network Tailgater. It's simple to operate, so far, no problems whatsoever. What I truly love about Dish Network is it they include my favorite XM radio station, Outlaw Country # 60. Now I have it in my RV, on my Harley Davidson, and on my Ford pickup. What a great deal, I can use Tailgater almost anywhere I am. I can't seem to find a good alternative for Internet service. I contacted AT&T and was told there is no service in my park, even though the guy two spaces away has it. They really don't have a very together there. Also contacted Bright House, they said they didn't offer it, either. I'll figure something out.
I've done a few updates on the RV, here are some quick pictures......
I was asked by one of my friends if my RV was packed in like the picture from the campground's website. The answer is no, I have lots of room out here, and relative freedom. This park really only gets crowded during the motorcycle rallies. That doesn't bother me too much, I like being around kindred souls, or part of the tribe, if you will.
I never expected to stay this long in an RV park, but I'm having a good time. I really think that's all that matters when you become a full-time RV'er, isn't it? I find a lot of my philosophies have started to evolve. A lot of the things I used to think were so important, so worthy of stress, so necessary in my busy life, seem to just be falling away. My priorities are certainly changing. Isn't that what retirement and escapism is about? To find out what is really important to you, and being thankful that you have the resources and the time to pursue those important things? Just between you and me, I'm beginning to wonder how I found the time to work 40+ hours every week. It's funny, going to Walmart, or the grocery store, takes a lot longer than it used to. Maybe my pace has mellowed. Here's a shot of the new mellowed me at Bulow Plantation (Click). As you can see, I haven't put a razor to my face since January 2, 2013. Yes that coincides with when I started this new lifestyle. Who knows, maybe clean-cut is back in my future, but for now I'll just go with the flow, This is Harley Davidson country, after all!
@ the Bulow
Once again, I want to thank you for taking the time to stop by for a while. It's awful important to me that you do. I hope you're having a wonderful summer, and that life couldn't be any better. Love you all..... Michael Ultra
No, I'm not in jail, or the hospital, or even incommunicado. I do apologize for not writing. Every day, I start with the ambition to do a daily update and then it just fades into the background. Am I the only one that has sometimes writer's block? Most times, reality does not keep up with expectations. I have had some second thoughts about selling my big house on the lakeside to travel all these blue highways, but they are short and fleeting. Usually it starts with me looking around my toy hauler and thinking, I can still be in that big old house rambling around. It doesn't take long for me to look around at my surroundings and realize how lucky and blessed I really am. Isn't it funny, when you get what you want, you're not sure that's what you wanted. Like the old saying, be careful what you pray for. If I had it all to do over, would I change anything? Absolutely not! My stress levels have dropped out the bottom. I've got a whole new set of rules that I live by. What are they, you ask?
Sleep when you're sleepy.
Eat when you're hungry.
Make love when you can.(lol, I'm not dead yet)
Work when you have to.
Go where you want to, when you want to.
I know that sounds kind of silly, but we have to have rules, right? Now that I have been out on the road for six months, I wonder how I ever had time to work 40+ hours a week? Am I the only one that feels that way? There are many perks for those that are retired, I never really realized it. I love senior discounts and restaurants and movies. One of the coolest things I've gotten is this deal right here......
(senior park pass) Do you know what that is? It used to be called the Golden Passport. Here's a link (click). I've already used it, and have to say it is a great deal for those 62 and older. So here I am, four months into my stay at the Thunder Gulch Campground. I never figured I would hang out this long in Florida, but admittedly, I've never been a full-timer before, so really I'm still learning about this lifestyle. There are a few things that call for instant attention. Do you know what this is?
toilet pic One of the first lessons I learned, is make darn sure the foot flusher closes all the way before leaving the bathroom. Not once, but twice I had failed to do that and ended up with a flooded bathroom, and just a mess. My neighbor who has been a full timer for a long time, loaned me his wet vac and assured me that everyone out here has had this problem, at least once. He's so funny, he calls me an RV cherry. I didn't tell him I've had RVs since 1971. Of course I was kind of embarrassed. Oh well, live and learn! I have yet to use my RV stove. I've only lit the oven to see if it works. I do all my cooking on my Q100. I also eat at the local seafood and Thai restaurants. Seafood is one of the benefits of living here on the coast because it is plentiful and reasonably inexpensive. Here's a picture of my meal last night from my Weber. Yummy... Shish kebabs!
Shish kebab I would be lax if I didn't show you a picture of my four-year-old nephew. He sure loves his uncle Mike, and his uncle Mike loves him back. This is in front of the camper and he improvised a toy with a stick and a pine cone. I don't know if he was amused, but it sure amused me.
Jake and the pine cone My little doggies are doing just fine. They have become really accustomed to the camper life. They get a good walk everyday and just love it because for snacks they get Walmart beef jerky. Lucky dogs...
I'm not really sure how long I must stay here, but I am changing RV spaces today. Why? The space that I am at is 30 amp. That was plenty when I got here at the end of February, but now that summer and the heat is here, the only way I can run both my air-conditioners is with my generator. There's a really nice spot down the road that has 50 amp, so I shall move camp a little ways in order to run both air-conditioners at the same time. He gets really hot here in Florida, with lots of humidity. I am also ordering the Dish Network's Tailgater. I haven't had any satellite television for the past six months. I have had to make do with the broadcast TV. I'm a bit of a TV junkie, so it has not been enjoyable. It would be a lot better if I spoke Spanish, because it seems like the good clear channels are in Spanish.(on broadcast TV). I've been missing my Travel Channel, and my History Channel, and lots of other things that are offered on satellite. While we're talking about technology on the road, what do most to you do for Internet connections? I have a Samsung S3, and get pretty fast Internet off of it, but man, is it expensive. Any ideas? Has anyone used DishNet yet, or Hughes Net? I would appreciate some feedback. In case you didn't know, Central Florida is Harley Davidson heaven. The largest Harley dealership in the world is just a few miles down the road from here. There's also a JandP motorcycle superstore. I've never seen anything like it. Here are some Harley pictures.It's really like riding in Paradise down here.....
Since I've been out here on the road, I lost one of my music heroes. In fact, the world has lost what I, and many others consider the best country and western singer that has ever been. Who am I talking about? Why the Possum of course... Mr. George Jones!! Rest in peace, George.
Thank you for the readers that I still have, I hope I haven't alienated any of you. I really will try to do better in the future. As always, I send you much love, good vibes, and many warm fuzzies. MICHAEL ULTRA
It will soon be 4 months since I started my new life on the road. I would love to report 3+ months of trouble free living. I would love to honestly say that everything has just fallen into place and worked perfectly. I feel like a green-bean newcomer, sometimes. The truth is, not everything has gone as planned. When you last heard from me, I had just arrived in Daytona Beach. What I didn't tell you was the problem I had towing the toy-hauler. Look at this...
That is a brand new air shock because the other one had a hole worn into the side of it. See the big ol' tire? It was the one who did the wearing out job. Why? It appears the inside dual tire only had 30lbs of air. Not Good! The other five tires had 40 lbs of air. Really not good! I trusted my tire shop to check my tires. Never again. I am now in charge of air!(no pun intended) It was a lesson learned and won't be forgotten. I was even thinking about a different truck. ( I had no idea new trucks are so expensive now) The ol' white truck drives like a new one now. I had a great time during Daytona Bike Week. For those of you who don't know, Bike Week is a great gathering of the tribes in the Harley world. 500,000+ motorcycles. It makes for a crazy and diverse 10 days. Here are some assorted pictures...
I have made some small additions to my rolling home. Most of these things were needed...
I have had some items decide they didn't like camping. For instance, this is being written on my new laptop. I don't think I am all that crazy about Windows 8. Any opinions? I will try to stay better in touch. I do appreciate and love you all. Sincerely, Michael Ultra