Visiting Kevin’s Old Stomping Grounds

Church Where Kevin’s Dad Used To Pastor, Missouri.

My Memories of Hamilton

Before Hamilton, Missouri was a destination for quilters, it was my home town.  I grew up on a farm south of town, and I went to school there. 

Kevin’s Grade School Is Now A Quilt Museum. Hamilton, MO

My grade school is now a quilt museum.  We toured through it mainly for my memories as a kid. 

School Hand Rail Where He Would Swing Himself Around. Hamilton, MO

I remembered the stairs and hand rails. 

Kevin Reenacting Eating Cold Lunch At Grade School. Hamilton, MO

I sat down where I used to eat cold lunch on the bleachers in the gym.  Cold lunch?  Well, sometime in kindergarten, they had us try school hot lunch.  There was something I didn’t like about it, so I made the first big decision that I remember in life.  I was going to eat cold lunch from now on!

I think I remembered where all my classrooms were.  My favorite grade was second.  My teacher, Mrs. Sacarro <sp> was fantastic.  

The high school was at the north end of town, and now there is little there that I recognize.  They are tearing it down and building a new one.  My favorite teachers there were Mr. Blakely and Mr. Davies.  I still keep up with Mr. Blakely some, as he goes to the country church that my Mom and Dad used to attend.  

Part Of Downtown Hamilton, MO Today.

Hamilton lies on the crossroads of highway 36 and 13.  Highway 13 runs north and south through town.  Somewhere in there it becomes Davis street.  There was not much to do in town besides “dragging main” or Davis.  They would turn around at Hales 66 gas station on the south end, and the high school on the north.  I was always busy with other things, and didn’t do it once!  (well, maybe once or twice, don’t tell Dad.)

Hamilton is the birthplace of JC Penney.  I understand he came back and was a local citizen later in life.  I went to Penney High School, so I am guessing he donated quite a bit for the school.  I remember going to Penney’s in town to get school clothes and things.  

Speaking of businesses, there are several still going like they were when I was a kid.  Hales Hy-Klas is still there and still a grocery store.  Bernie Hales is not cashiering anymore.  She was a nice lady that had the patience of Job with me when I paid for a toy with pennies.  The MFA feed store is still there and seems just as popular now as it was.  

There are several businesses that are not there anymore.  Winslow’s feed is an example.  

There have been a lot of changes.  Missouri Star Quilt Company has revitalized the downtown area.  I am sure it would have been cheaper to build new buildings, but they revitalized the old two story buildings that run along Davis street.  In my opinion, it has breathed new life into a sleepy rural town.  

Kevin’s Junior High School. Kidder, MO
Old Grade School Playground Area. Hamilton, MO

“See this scar on my eyebrow? It happened right back there!” Swinging around swing set pole.

County Seat Where Kevin Got His Driver’s License. Kingston, MO
Water Pump In The Middle Of The Intersection. “Always Been There.” Kingston, MO
Just Never Know Where The Road Will End. Kingston, MO


Life-Changing – Should We Do It? As indicated by previous blog posts, we tend to enjoy traveling.  It is the one of the big things that brings us enjoyment in life.  With the work-from-home option from the Covid pandemic, and the improvement in mobile internet, it went from a dream to a real possibility.  With that, there comes a lot of questions.  Would we live in our travel trailer full time, with no “home base”?  What does a home base look like?  We looked into buying bare land and basically putting a garage on it.  We looked into full scale RV resorts with park models (small mobile homes).  The HOA fees were CRAZY EXPENSIVE!  They would be great if you wanted to be in group activities all the time, but we knew we would be away traveling so much and not take advantage of enough of the amenities to make it worth it.  Plus, in almost all of the resorts, you do not own the land, you just own the park model (trailer) on the land.

We are members of Escapees RV club, and they put out a very nice magazine.  In the back of the magazine there was a two line advertisement for RV homes in Arizona.  I was intrigued.  It is a complete neighborhood of 2-3 bedroom homes with HUGE RV garages!  The subdivision is in Fort Mohave AZ.  We went down to look at it, and check out the area, and pretty much fell in love.  It would be a nice home base to come back to and regroup, repair, and relax so we could get back out and travel again.  

The lots were selling fast!  We put a deposit down on the lot, and went back home to think about it.  We no longer needed a 5 bedroom, 3 bath house.  We had no real ties to where we were, so we decided to move on.  

I think, for Charla and I, we think, ponder, and pray for a long time.  When it is time to pull the trigger, things happened fast!  All in the process of two weeks, we finalized the purchase of the new home base, rented a 10×20 ft temperature controlled storage unit, (it gets super hot in the summer in Fort Mohave) changed jobs, and put our house on the market!

Since we are having a house built in Fort Mohave, we thought it would be nice to be within several hours to where the house is being built.  We found a nice campground in Needles called Desert View.  We took HOWE (our travel trailer, Home On WhEels) down to Needles, California to the campground.  We then returned, and got ready for next steps.

Our house sold very quickly.  We knew it would.  We packed up a U-Haul and headed south!  The builder of our home base is very meticulous.  Also, we are number 17 on the list for houses being built.  We realized it would take quite a while.  In the meantime, I am settling into my new job, trailer life, and our new adventure! Plus, so much in the surrounding area to explore.

Our FULL-TIME TRAVELING ADVENTURE started February 9, 2022. We have so many stories to share with you. We hope you continue to read and “ride along” with us. Thank you.

A week before we moved, our snow shovels sold (NOT doing cold anymore), Kevin gets the ice scraper out to “shovel” the large driveway. Just kidding. 🙂 He used it on the car.
Charla wrote this; HOWE (our travel trailer) is our new home.
1st Campground as “Full-Timers.” Desert View RV in Needles, CA
All our things for our “home base” house fit in 10×20 ft storage container. Pink Duct Tape means Charla wanted those close to the door in case we need something while the “home base” is being built.
Perfect weather and temperature in Needles, CA in February, 2022.

X Marks the Spot if You Have the Wiggles

Howe (our trailer – Home on Wheels) has the wiggles. With proper chocks under the wheels, and the stabilizers down, it still feels wiggly when walking in it. Stabilizers on smaller travel trailers are not levelers. They are designed to stabilize the trailer once it is leveled. Even with Howe leveled and stabilized, you can tell when someone is walking in the trailer. I did in-depth research (watched several YouTube videos) and decided to order X chocks.

These are jack like devices that fit between the tandem wheels of the trailer and pushes against the tires. This will greatly diminish the front and back movement of the trailer. This does not replace wheel chocks. It just enhances the stabilization of the trailer.

I have found these to greatly improve the comfort when inside HOWE. It even stays stable when Charla does the high jump into our bed. (more details in another post). They work great with HOWE but will also work great with fifth wheels.

Car Show! Got to see Matt!

So, a hobby of mine is watching entirely too much YouTube. I watch things that pique my interest. I grew up on a small farm, so I watch The Millennial Farmer. His 10 year old son was driving a tractor and grain cart that was worth more than the entire farm that I grew up on! Farming is a different world now. I also watch several travel videos as well as several RV YouTubers.

But the one channel I watch most faithfully is Matt’s Off-road Recovery. He has a cobbled together Jeep Cherokee that he uses to pull stuck vehicles out of sand mainly. They also pull people out of everything – snow, mud and loose rocks. He uses a kinetic rope, kind of like a huge bungee cord, and “yanks” them out. I am really not sure why I like it, but I do.

Matt’s Recovery YankEm Rope

They are in Hurricane – the area that we store HOWE and camp close by. I heard they were going to be in the Hurricane car show the weekend we would be in the area, thus, Charla and I HAD to go!

It was in a park in downtown Hurricane. There were a TON of cars there! We got there early, and went straight to where Matt had the Yellow Bannana (the jeep cherokee) and their new vehicle, the Morevare (a Corvair body on a custom frame, engine, etc.).

I always wondered why people wanted to see movie stars. Now I know the feeling. I didn’t have anything original or smart to say, so I just gawked. Another person that is in the videos, Jefe, showed me around the Morevair. It was a TON of fun! I bought a couple of hats and a T-shirt from Lizzie and got to see the whole crew.

Jefe and Kevin
Buying some merch!

We looked around the rest of the show. There were a lot of interesting cars and trucks there. For example, there was an old Kenworth truck, and a “mob” car. It is amazing how much work people put into their restorations!

Old Kenworth

Winterizing, oh the joys!

Being a new travel trailer owner, I consulted the experts on winterizing – Google and YouTube. I thought it would be pretty complicated, but it is not bad.

Here is the process I followed the first few times:

  • I disconnected the city water hose from the trailer.
  • I then opened the drains for the hot and cold pipes. On my trailer, it is just under the city water hookup.
  • Then I used a special fitting that attaches to the city water connection. This will connect an air hose to the city water connection.
  • I connect my small air compressor to the fitting, dial it down to 35 psi, then turn it on.
  • I close the hot and cold pipe drains.
  • After waiting for my air compressor to catch up, I go inside and open each faucet one at a time. Air and water shoots out. Once it is just air, I close the faucet, and move on to the next one.
  • Hot water heater. We turn the water heater off the night before, to let it cool down a bit. Turn the air compressor off. (see story below) relieve pressure in the heater by opening the pressure relief valve. Then remove the anode at the bottom of the water heater. This will take time to drain, I leave the anode just below where I removed it, and close everything up……time for a story. The water heater needs to be drained. The first time I did this, I left the air compressor connected and running – building pressure in the system. When I removed the plug/anode, water shot out 6-8 feet after it shot me right in the chest!
  • Time to work on the drains. We use the pink RV antifreeze and pour a couple cups into each drain. The measurement is very important. Usually I upend the gallon jug and wait for two glugs. B-)
  • That is all we do. If we lived in colder climates, we would pump antifreeze into the water pipes.

This is the process we did the first few times. After looking at the temperature in St. George where we store HOWE we stopped blowing out the lines with air. We just open the drain lines and open the faucets. This might catch us someday – who knows. Most people do this once a year in the fall but since we are using it almost every weekend, we do it almost every weekend. B-)

Do we have gas?

Catchy title, huh? It is not what you think! Propane keeps your RV warm, gives you hot water, stove and oven, and in some cases your refrigerator. It is a big challenge in winter is to make sure you have enough propane. You need it to keep yourself warm, but also to keep the pipes from freezing and breaking. We have had several different friends that woke up cold in the middle of the night! It is pretty hard to find a place that refills propane at 3 AM!

I have been afraid of this, so erred on the side of caution, and filled my tanks frequently. I knew there had to be a better way. There are guages that you can attach to your tank, but reviews were terrible! They were not accurate at all, and left several people with that 3 AM cold feeling……

There are also stickers that you can put on the side of the propane tank, but they only work well when the temperature is just right. Also, we have a plastic tank cover that would make reading these stickers pretty hard.

After digging around some more I found a better solution. It is the LP Tank Check with monitor. It has sensors that fit by magnet on the bottom of the tanks. Then there is a monitor that you can mount near your switches inside your RV. The best thing is an app on your phone that you can check the level of your tanks with amazing accuracy. It connects to the monitor or to your phone via bluetooth – so you have to be within 50 feet of your tanks.

Installation went very well. I went to Tractor Supply, and had my tanks filled. Then, before putting them back on HOWE (home on wheels) I turned the tank over, and cleaned the bottom. I put a bit of the dielectric grease on the bottom and stuck the sensor on. It has a strong magnet that holds the sensor on.

The only challenge is with the install of the standoffs, or risers to lift the tanks up for a bit. The sensor is thick enough that the bottom flange of the tank needs to be a little taller. They include aluminum standoffs that increase the height of the tank. They press on, and don’t stay on as well as I would have liked.

Pairing them was so easy that I forgot how it went. There were great instructions, and it was super fast.

screenshot of what it looks like on my iPhone

After installing these devices, I do not have to worry any more if I have gas or not.

Craters of the Moon

We left our trailer at the KOA, and drove to Craters of the Moon National Monument. We had been there before, but I got a new passport book, and a goal is to get as many stamps as possible in the book. A lofty goal would be to get all of the national parks stamped! The drive up there was nice, as there was a lot of farmland to see. The visitors center was closed due to Covid. I understand this, but it was disappointing because you couldn’t get a feel for what makes the park special.

Craters of the Moon is a park like no other. It is a gigantic lava field with different types of lava. By types I mean it was how the liquid lava dried. Some dried in smooth flows, others in a splatter pattern. There are miles and miles of black, hardened lava. In places, dirt blown in from erosion is starting. Some green plants are following the dirt. It is definitely an other-worldy feeling. The park itself has a one-way loop with several spots to pull off and hike. We took a short walk and looked at where the trees and plants are getting their start in this barren landscape.

We still had some time in the day, so we saw a pamphlet for Shashone Ice Caves. They offer tours through a lava tube that has ice in it year round. Sounds interesting! When we pulled up, we instantly knew it was a tourist trap. There were high walls up hiding whatever is behind it. There was a huge 40 – 50 foot dinosaur with a caveman riding on top. When we went in to see about tickets, the small gift shop was PACKED with people! Many were not wearing masks, none were social distancing. That was the last straw…..we went no further. It looks like the actual tour might have been interesting, but we had a hard time getting beyond the tourist trap facade.

We then drove to Sun Valley. It is well known for skiing. Since we live in Utah (greatest snow on earth) it left us a bit disappointed. Since we are not skiers, and it was still early fall… would be hard to judge. We were used to Park City where it FEELS like you are in the mountains. This didn’t have that feeling for us. We still had a blast driving.

I listened to an audio book and Charla read while we were driving back to HOWE (Home on Wheels). When we got there, I lit a fire, and we roasted hot dogs. You can’t beat roasted hotdogs over a campfire. We then relaxed, people watched, and walked around the campground. We went into the camp store, and they had a lot of cute things. Charla was impressed that grocery items weren’t overpriced.

The next day we packed up and started heading home. There were warnings for strong winds, and it threw us around a bit going home. You know, we “accidentally” scheduled to be hungry when we were going by Tremonton, Utah. JC’s diner has the best chicken fried steak! I am sure they have other menu items, but the chicken fried steak is so good, it will be a while before I try anything else.

This was a fun first trip. It was great to realize that we were prepared and did not forget anything. We did add a few things to our shopping list for the next trip though. Amazon is my friend.

Internet – when we want it, where we want it

We live in an age where internet is a necessity. We are not in the position to retire, so I need reliable internet to work from any location we happen to be in. From my experience, campground wireless internet is hit and miss. Even if I am connected, it is not fast enough even for basic work.

So what is the answer? There are several different options out there, but the best and most reliable is cellular. I have an iPhone that I can “hotspot” my computer to, and so far it has been working great! The challenge is when cellular signal is not good.

Continue reading “Internet – when we want it, where we want it”

We have a truck – Now what?

Thursday, August 27, 2020 I got a call from the dealer in Bozman, MT that one has sold. That afternoon, we went to General RV in Draper. Jefferson Moser asks us how much we want to spend, first thing. That was impressive because he never wavered from it. He drives us in the little golf cart to the upper lot and shows us a 2020 Shadow Cruiser 225RBS and we absolutely “love” it. We saw two others but the kitchens were tiny and the floor plan was choppy with bedroom walls and doors. We bought it immediately! We were told by several salesmen that, like us, many people wanted to travel or get away and aren’t able to because of all the restrictions and so people bought travel trailers and camped locally.  The new truck needed a special trailer brake put on and they couldn’t do it until Tuesday. Jefferson said some people had to wait more than 2 weeks this summer. That would have been very sad.

Friday, August 28,2020 We start buying all sorts of things that are needed for the truck and trailer. It was a blast. Like we did before when we had a trailer for a summer, we bought everything new to pack it completely with what is needed.

Tuesday, Sept 1, 2020 Pick up day! Our appointment was at 8:30 AM. It took a little more than 2 hours to be shown everything and to sign the papers. Oh, so exciting.

Home on Wheels!

The beginning of RV fun-Buying a truck!


Charla and I really miss traveling due to Covid restrictions. We have had several cruises cancel (including a big one to Ireland) and no one knows for sure when cruise lines will be allowed to open up for travel. Over this summer, we have taken a few small road trips: in June we went to Burley, ID and visited City of Rocks National Park, Shoshone Falls, and Snake River. For Kevin’s birthday, we went to Daniel’s Summit Lodge and had a fantastic time. But we miss going and traveling more.

Monday, August 24, 2020, Charla and I decide we want to buy a travel trailer. We look at some RV dealers online and find one we want.

Continue reading “The beginning of RV fun-Buying a truck!”

Adventures in Nomadic Serendipity

Changing Lanes

Full Time RV Living


Go, See, Do, Experience!