Saturday, February 18, 2017



26 Dec – 6 Jan

I wanted to try something different this trip and blog about the places we stop along the way. The way a Full-Time RVer travels from one place to the next is done differently than the "normal person" in their everyday travels. With so many people speeding trying to get somewhere as fast as they can, there is no time for them to stop and smell the roses to take in the history or beauty that's right in from of them in their everyday commutes. Don't get me wrong, some RVer travel that way too and every RVer has their own way of traveling. However, in our case most of the time we don't have a set time we have to be somewhere. We travel to see and do thing along the way. I just want to show that if you take that extra mile and get off the beating path you can find that hidden gem that so many people never get to see. 

First and foremost is planning. It's hard to find something that others have not found yet or that is not a big (pricey) tourist spot, but still have its own value. We stop at State line visitor center and grab flyers & travel books, watching a lot of Full Time RVer YouTube videos, reading a lot of RVers blogs and listing to stories from other RVer on where they went. When something catches our attention I write it down and when we are in that area I have it on my to do list. Currently our must are baseball stadiums, National Parks and Capitol Building.  It might seem a little weird, but lately we also have been visiting famous people grave sites. We have seen Ty Cobb, Bruce and Brandon Lee, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain (park were some of his ashes were laid in the river) just to name a few. Sometimes when we see Historical Markers we just pull off the side of the road to read them and see what took place.

This trip was no different than the others we took, except that the weather is colder along with Christmas and New Year’s Holidays where most attractions are closed. We’re still bound to see something new. 

We had three more Minor League Stadiums on our list, but when I called to see their hours they were closed Dec 24 - Jan 2. Bad news no ball parks this trip. I’ll have to get them the next time around.

However, we did find some places that were open between Christmas and New Year’s. The next eleven days and 1,979 miles these are the places we visited and things we did.

First we stopped to meet friends in Texas for the New Year before driving the rest of the way to Arizona. These are the place we stopped.

To read about our three day stay at Hot Springs NP, Little Rock Central High School NHS and Arkansas Capitol Building  CLICKHERE.

I always wondered why Arkansas had a diamond on the license plate; well this place has answered my question why? Crater of Diamonds State Park in Mufreesboro, AR. Parking spaces is big enough for RV. They also have a campground, but we only stayed a few hours before getting back on the road. Fee was $8 a person on 37 acres you can search for diamonds. Since 1972 visitors have found over 30,000 diamonds. I keep talking about finding that hidden gem; this is the perfect place then any to at least try. Whatever we found we could keep. When we return to the visitor center we got a free appraisal to see if we “found that hidden gem”. Sadly, we only left with a bag full of rocks.

Just ten miles off of I-20 on a rural road just outside of Gibsland, LA with no one in sight for miles is the site where Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed by law enforcement on 23 May 1934. All that remains as a reminder are two markers. One made from stone that is rattled with bullet hole giving the sight & date of the ambush and a brass maker dedicated to the law men who shot and killed them.

One of my favorite bases I have come a cross since Full Timing is Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso, TX, about 25 miles from the New Mexico State line (I 10 to US 54). We drove on base with the RV and had no issues. One of the few bases that I have seen that got it right with FreedomCrossing . Everything that a military personal would ask for and they have it here. Freedom Crossing looks like a small city were personnel don’t even have to leave the base to get what they can off base. There is even a FAMCAMP 3 miles down the road on the other side of the base. If you are active, retired or DoD you must stop if not to just take a look.  One of the most dangerous cities in the world Juarez, Mexico border crossing is only a few miles a ways where you can see the border wall and city from I 10.

Only a few hours out from our final destination just outside of Phoenix, AZ I was following behind a big rig and saw him pass over a shredded tier, I swerved to miss the first piece, but hit the bigger second piece with the back wheel of the tow dolly. First the good news there was no damages to the RV or car. However, the dolly took the bulk of the damage as the tire broke the dolly tire cover in half. I pulled over at a rest stop and the tire cover was not hitting the tire so there was no worry of blowing a tire. The piece looks easy to replace all I will have to do is find or order the part before we hit the road in April.

I-10 and I-17 interchange in Phoenix at 4:00pm is the worst. Driving like a turtle and cars cutting in front of us at the last second almost getting hit. It was so bad our sink covers flew off hitting the back of Hiromi's seat. Lesson Learn: Next time I will take I-8 and go around. It might take longer, but not as much traffic and I would still have my dolly tire cover.

We have arrived at our new home for the next four months at Leaf Verde in Buckeye, AZ. This marks our third season here where we were welcomed from friends we have made in the past and hopefully make new ones when we leave.

I did a review of this park in 2013, the park is under new management, but very little have changed. If interested in seeing the review CLICK HERE.

Thursday, February 2, 2017



27-29 Dec

Have you ever found a place that you loved so much, that every time you are close you can hear it calling your name and have to stop? Well, Hot Springs National Park is one of those places for us. Any time we are on I40 in Arkansas we take a few days to rest and relax in this location. This was our fourth time visiting this town and third time going to the bath house (first time closed). Even during the Holidays the Quapaw Bath House & Spa was open. Only an hour away we took a day trip to Little Rock to see some history.

We stayed at the Host Springs NP Campground just a few miles from bath house row. All sites are now full hook-up at $30 a nights. I asked the camp host if they had military discount, she told me to use the senior discount. It cost us only $15 a night.

First night I was going to cook steaks on the grill, but they were still frozen. We decided to walk around bath house row to see the Christmas lights and eat at The Ohio Club. We have eaten here before and this time we planned ahead.  Ohio Club is a bar with live music with a very small kitchen. We ordered chips & dip as our entree knowing that it would take a while for our dinner to arrive. I even had a Lost Forty Forest Queen and listen to the live band before our Ohio burger arrived.

I just found an APP untappd. It allows you to log the places you visited and drinks you had. If you use this APP you can friend me (JapanX) and compare the places we have been. Being from Ohio and with The Ohio Club as my first visit it just sounds fitting.

Tourist trap alert: Don’t pay for parking, there is a three story free parking garage one block behind Central Ave.


Day two: Only an hour away is the Capitol of Arkansas, Little Rock. We have missed it the several times we were here before and had to take a look this time. First we stopped at Little Rock Central High School NHS. In September 1957 nine African-American teens held the line against an angry mob protesting integration in front of Little Rock Central High School. President Eisenhower ordered the US Army to escort the nine students into the school. The crisis forced the Nation to enforce civil rights in the face of massive Southern defiance. Eight of the nine students are still alive today.

Next we traveled a mile away to the other side of the highway and arrived at the State Capitol Building. There was free parking right in front. We passed security and completed our self-guided tour. We saw the House & Senate, Governor Office and took a picture with the Capitol Building in the foreground.  Capitol Building number 20.

The steaks were no longer frozen and I cooked them on the grill for dinner.


Day three: We have been to Quapaw Bath & Spa in the past, but this time they had opening for massage. When making the reservations (the day before) I told the receptionist I never done this before and asked what I need to wear, she just smiled and said a smile.  For 25 minutes we had a couple’s massage with Hiromi getting a Swish and I got a targeted (lower back). We then hit the bath spa (bathing suit required) for about an hour. Because I got a massage and that I’m retired military my bath was free. However, Hiromi’s was normal price of $20. We soaked in the four different spring water baths that had a rage of temperatures from 95F to 104F for a few hours.

Our neighbors at the National Park Campground are from Ohio, was born in Canton and studied at Kent State. What a small world! What are the chances of that ever happing again? We all went out to eat dinner at DeLuca’s Pizzeria for New York style pizza and share stories. Places they have been we want to go, and places we have been they want to go. This is one of the reason I love RVing. Some stranger you may never talk to in the “real world” and would never have known you two have so much in common would bond so quickly by only saying hello.  


Want to see what we did the other times we were in Hot Springs NP click on these links.