Carolina: Cruising Past 70: WOW: Maximizing RVing Resources, Part 2

Sunday, January 16, 2011

WOW: Maximizing RVing Resources, Part 2

the Chehalis library on a hill in the middle of downtown
Last week’s post talked about four kinds of campgrounds.  Over a year ago, after 5 months of cruising, even before buying M’A ‘turn (our 37-ft. motorhome,) we bought  a Thousand Trails membership with the Resorts of Distinction tucked in (a network of 81 and 125 RV Resorts, respectively). We experience Nature Parks at the national parks and we choose RV Parks when we want to as close to family possible. But this post talks about the resources for RVing fun other than campgrounds or the local sights.

Bing Crosby House in Gonzaga University
Being smart (translation, cheap) there are public centers like libraries where we borrow a steady supply of DVDs, CDs, magazines, and books. Visitor Centers are sources of info and discount coupons, great for outlying areas like the Yukon. Good substitutes for gyms where we can’t find Bally’s Fitness Centers are community centers.   But we continue to be in serious denial that senior centers are also a good resource!  We can also park in rest areas for the night and use sewer and fresh water stations when they have them.

a sculpture at Western Washington University
Other public institutions that are also gems for us cruisers are colleges and universities!  At Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, for example, we discovered the House that stored much of Bing Crosby’s memorabilia. At Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, there are 33 sculptures of renowned artists all around the campus.  Even the Virginia Military Institute was a fine piece of architecture in itself, with Stonewall Jackson’s Statue right at the center!

The Virginia Military Institute
with the statue of Stonewall Jackson
Then there are religious institutions. From the small quonset huts of budding Catholic parishes in the Yukon to the massive cathedrals in the large metropolis,  churches also have functions aside from Sunday services.  There was the Simbang Gabi Reception at the St. John the Baptist Church in Covington, Washington, a Marriage Encounter Enrichment Weekend in the Seattle diocese at a Quality Inn, and a Christmas Choir singing every hour every night of Yuletide at The Grotto in Portland, Oregon.
the oldest cathedral in North America
in Mexico City
And, of course, countless commercial establishments fight for our dollars. But, I repeat, being smart, my favorite shopping is done at The Goodwill Chain of Stores (also St. Vincent DePaul, Salvation Army or the Habitat for Humanity), especially those that are found near affluent communities! We have found great treasures like our slightly used Zojirushi bread machine for $6.50 (brand new, $100-150). We have also found big, juicy watermelons at farmers’ markets for $1 and flea markets run all year round in Florida!

the couples of the WWME
 Enrichment Weekend. Section 13
Factory outlet malls, usually too far from the city, have become ubiquitous for us. Great for the budget, they are also great as tread mill substitutes, being sprawling single-level complexes.  Even movies come much cheaper ($2.50) at second-run theaters that are slightly further away from the city centers. When the weather is right, there are even the wide open drive-in theatres where you can do your thing in the privacy of your car (I mean like eat your own sandwiches, have your own drinks, etc.) 

meeting like-minded cruisers at a Walmart lot
And, when we run out of time to reach a campground, we just park at a Walmart, whether in Canada, US, or Mexico! For the price of some groceries or household supplies you may need, you can park your RV for the night, meet like-minded new neighbors, and sit inside for free WiFi! Then when you run out of time to cook a meal, you can go into a Costco to buy some much-needed staples and have a quick round of the free samples for tasting to fill your stomach to your heart’s content!

our motorhome on the driveway of the Docks
But the resource you can always count on is your family or friends. Bill went back to his hometown in Pittsburg, Kansas where we found the best spot to camp in the whole wide world! Jack Dock, husband of Rosemary (Bill’s sister), cleared out the space along his driveway and extended an electrical outlet for us from his garage. In short we were close neighbors for almost a month and went about our sight-seeing together to Tulsa Oklahoma, Joplin Missouri, and Kansas City Kansas and Missouri!

our love resources in Marriage Encounter
The Thousand Trails membership we bought for thirteen years computes to about $1.50 a day if we use it for 365 days a year (which is what we did in 2010). And this includes light, water, all the amenities, and the activities (sometimes even with free movies, coffee and popcorn). This year we will use the system for 9 months and 2012 we will use it for the full year again. Later on, by the end of our contract, we will probably average out to 6 months a year or just $3 a day!

So what more can I ask for? There is absolutely no time for boredom. Last week  I even forgot to include the hiking and biking trails in each campground, the lakes they have for fishing and boating (if not a river or ocean front), and the fire pits for fireside chats at night or for making s’mores!  In this cruising lifestyle, I have found that the axiom ‘More for less’ which I learned from business, also applies.  That makes Carol a happy girl! And Bill becomes one, too…I mean…a happy boy!

Next Post: OLA: Elma, Grays Harbor, Raymond, Ocean Shores and Olympia, Washington.


  1. Wow, some great input for free or very inexpensive ways to keep busy and get great deals. $6.50 for a Zojirushi bread machine -- that works! Great deal.

  2. It is truly a great lifestyle: great on the pocket, great on the adventures, and great on connecting with family and friends.

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