Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Yorktown Day Celebration

from America's Historic Triangle
by SeeingTheUSA

October 19, 2016 - commemorating the 235th anniversary of the victory at Yorktown


Stage for the program at the Yorktown Victory Monument

Color Guard

Memorial wreath in place

After the ceremony, we watched a film in the National Park Service Visitor Center.

Crowd has dispersed

We stopped for ham biscuits, apple pie and sweet tea.

Along the Riverwalk...

An annual pass for Colonial Williamsburg is $66.99. It is half price for veterans...AND $10.00 for residents.  Kris and I tell people we moved here for the $10.00 "Good Neighbor" ticket at Colonial Williamsburg. Also as a resident, we have access to Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown at no charge.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

From America's Historic Triangle - Yorktown, VA
by SeeingTheUSA

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown has scheduled a Grand Opening Celebration
for March 23 - April 4, 2017.

Today Kris and I attended the Yorktown Victory Celebration and NEW MUSEUM Preview to commemorate the 235th anniversary of the 1781 Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown.

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is the realization of a master plan adopted by the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the Virginia state agency that operates the museum.  This museum replaces the Yorktown Victory Center that is part of the National Park Service.  The actual battlegrounds of the Siege of Yorktown remain within the NPS.

Work on the new museum began on this 22 acre site in mid 2012, with a cornerstone dedication on May 10, 2013, implementation of its name on October 15, 2016 and a planned open house in 2017.

Patrick Henry

The $50 million project is funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia and donations.

The Victory Center only depicts the Siege of Yorktown, whereas this new museum includes the entire American Revolution.  Outside is the construction of a re-created Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm.

The museum has 5 major themes: The British Empire and America, The changing relationship-Britain and North America, Revolution, The New Nation and The American People.

An introductory film. Liberty Fever, draws visitors into the world of Revolutionary America by hearing accounts of several who were actually involved in the war.

We were also in an experiential theater that transported us to the Battle of the Capes and Siege of Yorktown in 1781.  There was a 180° screen, visible incoming cannonballs, vibrating seats, smoke, smell of dirt, with loud blasts and bright flashes.

Retired New York police officer enjoys his hobby in America's Historic Triangle


Benjamin Franklin was able to achieve an unexpected favorable diplomatic success that protected the interests of the United States.  The final peace treaty, signed in Paris on September 3, 1783, by Great Britain, France and Spain recognized American independence and acknowledged that the United States would now play a role in world affairs.  The new nation's boundaries would extend from Canada and the Great Lakes southward to the border of Florida and west to the Mississippi River.

The last British soldiers left New York in November 1783.  

Earlier in the day, 3 proud grandparents were with their granddaughter at a cheerleading invitational.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Transitioned from Full-Time Lifestyle

from Powhatan of Williamsburg - Williamsburg, VA
by SeeingTheUSA

Living Full-Time in an RV and seeing all the things that we would never have seen otherwise was a great experience for Kris and me. We cherish friends that we made and we WILL see them again. We were SeeingTheUSA for 3 years, 5 months and 10 days.

Kris nor I regret our experiences SeeingTheUSA !!

The first thing that I noticed that I didn't like was meeting new folks we enjoyed being with AND THEN in only a few days either they or we were moving on and went our separate ways.   As I was talking about that around a campfire, one of the fellows explained to me that the people we meet in this lifestyle are more acquaintances than friends. YES, we would "cross paths" with folks when and if we would overlap by chance.  And we would follow everyone on Facebook.

We did make a few "friends" while on the road and we enjoyed getting to know "tons" of acquaintances. David Bott, who pens the blog, Outside Our Bubble called these friends "virtual friends".

My friend sent me this video that David shared....

 There are as many "ways" to live the Full-Time lifestyle as there are people who are doing it.  There are folks we now know that truly are Living The RV Dream. They have the best of all worlds as they are stationary at "home" for several months at a time. They become very busy doing exactly what they enjoy doing with "family" they look forward to seeing year after year.  Some have their stick and brick abode, while some live in their RV at a special place to them. AND they also travel as they work through a bucket list, or take time off to do "nothing" and just relax or go on a cruise.

For Kris and me, bouncing from Thousand Trails to Thousand Trails campgrounds was NOT Living The RV Dream.  Of course working at Amazon and Beet Harvest didn't exactly fall within that LTRVD category either.

We returned to Virginia to attend a family wedding.  We also went to a well attended family event at my hometown in Bremo Bluff.

My family did not question our living full-time in an RV and SeeingTheUSA.  In fact, our son enjoyed telling his friends that his parents were doing it.

It is I who enjoy being near my family.
We are now half way between our son in Richmond and our daughter in Virginia Beach.

It was not until I returned to Virginia that I began to think I was ready to get off the road.  Kris wasn't as ready ...she had hoped we would live the lifestyle for at least 5 years.

In July, we moved to the same campground in Ashland where we had spent 6 months before hitting the road full-time.  We moved most of what was in the coach into a mini-storage there.

In August, we took the coach to PPL Motorhomes Consignments in Houston.

We lived with our daughter in Virginia Beach for two weeks helping her with the condo she purchased.

We moved into our new place in Williamsburg Sept. 1st.

I KNOW the mantra of those who are Living The RV Dream is that "It's just stuff".
Well, I can't tell you how often I wished I still had some of the "stuff" I had in our garage.

I believe from MY experience...."You can take the boy out of Virginia, but you can't take Virginia out of the boy."

Kris and I were always alone at 9:00 a.m. when we did water aerobics.

Water aerobics is great, but it's Walk at Home with Leslie Sansone six mornings a week that is keeping my weight below 180 lbs.

I really did miss the "stuff" I had in my workshop.

We are in America's Historic Triangle...Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement and American
Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

I am already becoming engrossed with this special place in American history.

We have lived in 39 states.  We have liked ALL of them as long as the temperature was 65°F - 80°F.

There are places we still want to visit.  When we do, I'll be wearing a Williamsburg sweatshirt.

Everyone has their happy they should!

Friday, July 1, 2016

NOW we like our Thousand Trails Membership

from Williamsburg Thousand Trails - Williamsburg, VA
by SeeingTheUSA

On July 6, 2016, our average cost per night to stay in a Thousand Trails campground will have dropped to $19.97.  We have attained our goal of it dropping below $20.00 per night.

Our Thousand Trails membership has been a good deal financially for us.

It will have taken 3 years, 4 months and 3 days using our membership to attain that goal.

We are pleased with the Elite Basic membership we purchased in January 2013 before going full-time in March 2013.

Our contract is 21 days park to park, unlimited nights per year.  Florida in season is two weeks.  We can make reservations 120 days in advance, but only one holiday at a time.

Our Max Pass gives us 6 additional parks in Florida for a total of 9 in that state.

There are 5 Encore parks that have a designated area for Thousand Trails that are part of our contract.  We just wintered in one...Tropic Winds in Harlingen, TX.

The lowest price I've heard that someone has paid for a membership is one half the transfer fee.  The highest price I've heard that someone has paid is $13,000.

Therefore, everyone's time table to recover their investment is very different.

We paid $4895. for our membership, plus taxes and processing fee.  Our annual membership dues are fixed at:

199.00  Max Pass
  62.82  Taxes
  65.00  Assessment (our contract requires the assessment be paid - NO fine print
_____                        stipulating we don't have to pay them)

We have paid $494.80 in extra fees primarily for 50 amp electric.  We have included cable TV charges in that figure.

Dividing what we have paid into our Thousand Trails membership by 459 nights that we've stayed in Thousand Trails campgrounds, gives us our per night cost.

As we continue to use Thousand Trails campgrounds and figuring in what we eventually sell our membership for,  we will be WELL BELOW our $20.00 per night goal.

Making a Thousand Trails membership a "good deal" takes time.  It must be used.  The less the membership costs, the shorter the time table to recover the initial cost.

As my broker tells me..."It's not the price at which you sell, it's the price at which you BUY"

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Spring in Virginia

from Chesapeake Bay Thousand Trails - Gloucester, VA
by SeeingTheUSA

Three weeks in Gloucester, VA is a time for relaxation.

Adult pool

We immediately resumed our water aerobics exercise with the annual resident Jackie Hild.  We used her CD player, but if there are only Kris and me, we have our own also.

Homemade "water weights" - Kris and I use two each for resistance in the water

Jackie introduced us to Leslie Sansone's "Walk Fit"  This will be a great substitute to water aerobics when a pool isn't available or unsuitable weather.

We did "Walk Fit" with Jackie on a rainy morning here. It's more cardio than water aerobics.  AND it's much less boring than an hour hike around the campground.  

Our only touring while here was a 15 minute drive to...

Four miles southwest of Gloucester Courthouse in Belroi, Virginia (Gloucester County), the birthplace is only open the second Saturday of each month May through October with a contact phone number.  We drove in and found Mr. Hawkins with his ground crew cutting the grass.  He explained that tours are by appointment ONLY.  Well, 40 minutes later we not only had the tour we enjoyed getting to know Mr. Hawkins.  He was introduced to the birthplace when his son chose to use it as his Eagle Scout project.  Hawkins has been a volunteer here ever since.  


There is nothing original here with the possible exception of a baby rocker. However, everything inside is from the mid 1850's.  There are two rooms downstairs and a bedroom upstairs.  

The above is a painting of the original structure not showing a detached kitchen and servant's room.  

The Medical Society of Virginia purchased and renovated the place in 1926.  It was given to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities in 1968. In 2013, it was transferred to the Gloucester Preservation Foundation.


 Surgeon Major Walter Reed

The last of five children, born on these grounds in 1851 to a circuit preacher, Walter Reed.  He stood third in his class and was the youngest graduate of the Medical Department of the University of Virginia.  He was appointed to the Medical Corps of the United States Army.  

Dr. Reed knew of the suspicion that insects could carry disease when he headed a commission of doctors to Cuba to search for the cause of the yellow fever then prevalent among American troops stationed in Havana.  In 1881, Dr. Finlay had made public his theory on the transmission of yellow fever by means of mosquitoes in a paper before the Royal Academy of Havana.  That theory waited for twenty years for Reed's proof.  

Dr. Reed's commission ran the risk of human experiment and successfully produced an unmistakable case of yellow fever from the bite of a mosquito. There was now proof positive.  Within 90 days Havana was free from yellow fever and in 1902, not a single case was found on the island of Cuba.  

Walter Reed, came to fame in 1900 and died in 1902. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery with a bronze plaque.."He gave to man control over that dreadful scourge, yellow fever."

The Walter Reed National Medical Center, established in 2011, is a combination of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center.   

We had a potluck with our fellow Virginia friends, Steve and Karen Fischer.

They also joined us for one of our two trips to ....

York River Oyster Company 
Gloucester Point, VA

This campground becomes quite busy on Saturdays.  

Family Pool

Piankatank River