RVers looking for an overnight place to park other than a Walmart, truck stop, or casino, now have another option, thanks to a new partnership between the Escapees club and Boondockers Welcome.
Boondockers Welcome is providing Escapees members with a special discount to join their program and a resource to help RVers connect with other RVers who have a location for people to dry-camp for the night.
It might be in their driveway or a field on their farm. The view may be of amber waves of grain or of the McDonald’s parking lot, but it will be a free place to park where RVers don’t have to worry about idling truck engines, security, or that dreaded knock on the window at 2 a.m., according to an Escapees news release.
Boondockers Welcome offers an online community to make new friends and save money while RVers see the world from a local’s perspective.
RVers will have access to fellow members, be able to correspond with them securely, and accept their invitation to spend a night (or two) parked on their property.
Ideally, RVers will return the favor, extending a similar invitation to other travelers. But even if RVers don’t have a place to offer in return, they’ll be able to take advantage of the hospitality of others, saving hundreds of dollars in campground fees.
A host membership costs $19.95 per year or $44.95 for three years.
A guest-only membership is $24.95 per year or $59.95 for three years.
Use coupon code 5OFF4SKP to save $5 off any Boondockers Welcome membership.
Use coupon code GIVE52CARE and Boondockers Welcome will donate $5 to the Escapees CARE Center.
Escapees RV Club
Address: 100 Rainbow Drive, Livingston, TX 77351
Phone: (936) 327-8873 or (888) 757-2582 (toll free)
To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
Since 1985, Escapees Mail Forwarding Service has been assisting full-time and part-time RVers with all their mail forwarding needs. As a licensed commercial mail-receiving agent, Escapees provides the largest, most economical service for RVers in the nation.
Livingston, Texas-based Escapees Club announced that its mail service has raised the bar again.
The new Escapees: Home satellite centers provide Escapees Mail Service members with a whole new level of flexibility, according to a news release.
This service is specifically designed for full-time RVers interested in maintaining a physical address in Florida, Texas, or South Dakota.
Escapees: Home offers Florida and South Dakota as home-base options and perfectly meshes those two satellite centers with Escapees’ sophisticated mail distribution center in Livingston, Texas.
“Whether you move for personal reasons, or state regulations create undue hardships, Escapees: Home satellite service allows you to change your domicile without alerting your entire list of correspondents,” said Teresa Moore, chief operations officer.
All Escapees Mail Service members receive their very own private mailbox number that corresponds with a Texas (Rainbow Drive) street “mailing address” for general correspondence. Those who select Texas as their domicile may use this as their physical address as well. This same private mailbox number will be used for Escapees: Home mail.
Escapees Mail Service members who select the Escapees: Home option, may use one of the “physical addresses” the club offers for domicile purposes and have their state-specific mail (vehicle registration, driver license, and voter registration) sent there. Mail received at our satellite centers in Florida or South Dakota will be forwarded to the Texas facility for processing based on each member’s specific instructions. There is no additional charge for this service. Members pay postage only.
Escapees Mail Service
Since 1985, Escapees Mail Forwarding Service has been assisting full-time and part-time RVers with all their mail forwarding needs.
Phone: (936) 327-8873 or (888) 757-2582 (toll free)
RVing can be even more memorable when it’s shared with other RVers at a rally.
There are several different types of RV rallies including Good Sam Club National and Chapter rallies, manufacturer club rallies, and club rallies for RVers of similar interests.
Good Sam Club Chapters embrace RV fellowship and make lasting friendships through a shared sense of community and a love for RVing. Chapters hold campouts, plan social events, and organize community volunteer opportunities. There are nearly 1,500 Good Sam Chapters across North America.
Manufacturer clubs enhance the enjoyment of ownership by providing connections with others of similar interests. In addition to a national RV rally, most of these RV clubs and manufacturers host regional and local chapter rallies. The brand club rallies for owners of a specific brand of RV typically offer technical and lifestyle seminars, crafts, new RV displays, and opportunities to socialize.
Many RVers enjoy gathering with friends who have special interests or common goals. Similar interest clubs include Escapees RV Club for full-timers and Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) for motorhome enthusiasts. From singles clubs to an organization of military personnel, chances are good that you can find a club that’s just right.
With the numerous RV Shows and club rallies scheduled in Sunbelt regions you’re bound to find one that enhances your RV lifestyle.
FMCA Western Area Rally, Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, Indio, California, January 7-11
Winter is a time for boots, snow shovels, and icy roads… unless you’re a snowbird who RVs to the Sun Belt.
As Neil Young once sang, “the summer ends and the winter winds begin to holler all around the bend…”
The cooler temperatures have us thinking about the coming winter: snow, ice, and bone-chilling cold. You’re familiar with the drill: dig out the snow shovel, take the snow blower on a test run, and pull out the warm winter sweaters, parkas, mitts, and snow boots. Such are the joys of a northern winter!
The entire history of the human race is largely a search for comfort. Warm southern winters certainly rate high on my comfort scale.
Snowbirds are typically retired seniors who have the desire and financial ability to be away from home for extended periods of time.
The snowbird lifestyle is to our liking since we can take our home with us when the cold weather arrives and snow begins to falls. For us the snowbird lifestyle is the best of both worlds.
Preparing your home for an extended absence requires thorough thought and planning.
Before heading south, snowbirds need to take steps to secure and winterize their homes.
Creating a customized checklists is one way to keep track of your seasonal preparations.
Consider the following tips as a starting point when creating your winter-ready checklist.
Check expiry dates for travel documents, insurance, and credit cards.
Check with your insurance to determine how extended absences may affect coverage.
You are escaping the snow, but your home is not. Arrange with a neighbor, relative, friend, or snow removal service to keep sidewalks clear and your home secure.
Ask a friend, trustworthy neighbor, or relative to be the contact person for your home. It’s important to have someone check your home on a regular basis, remove sales flyers, and be available in emergency situations. Your home should look like someone is living there.
Provide the contact person and other neighbors, relatives, and friends with pertinent information including smart phone and email address, vehicle and home insurance, security system, furnace repair, description of RV and toad or tow truck and trailer with plate numbers.
Place a temporary hold on your newspaper delivery.
Receiving your mail in a timely manner can be a major concern for Snowbirds, full-timers, and other RVers who plan to be on the road for an extended period of time. Arrange with your local postal service to have your mail forwarded to a mail forwarding address. Trusted and reliable mail forwarding services include Good Sam, Escapees, and Dakota Post.
Unplug all electronics and electrical appliances—microwave, washer and dryer, stove, refrigerator, coffee pot, toaster oven, TVs, audio equipment, radios, and lamps.
Reduce costs and save energy consumption by turning the thermostat down to 45-50 degrees F (7-10 C).
Empty the refrigerator and turn it off. Unplug all electronics and electrical appliances.
Check to ensure that all smoke alarms are in working order and have fresh batteries.
Adjust the water heater thermostat to “pilot” or turn it off. Turn off the water supply at the main valve.
This list is a good place to start, but you may take additional steps to secure your home.
Be careful what you post on social media. Burglars have started crawling social media websites to find times when a house will be empty.
There’s only one way to know for sure: Escapees SmartWeigh.
The Escapees SmartWeigh program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.
The Escapees SmartWeigh program is an RV educational program created by the Escapees RV Club for the exclusive purpose of enhancing safety, enjoyment, and the overall success of the RV lifestyle.
SmartWeigh provides critical RV weight safety and load management information in a highly accurate and usable format. The weights determined and provided to RVers under the auspices of this program will be highly accurate as a result of using very high quality scales, which are annually tested, only suitable weighing sites, and highly trained volunteer personnel.
RV height measurement is also available at the permanent weighing sites. Available by request, just ask your weighmaster. This additional service is offered free of charge.
Escapees SmartWeigh is also available at many Escapees rallies and events.
You must sign up in advance and complete a SmartWeigh information sheet in order to weigh your RV.
To sign up for weekly weighing at a permanent weighing sites, just call the number for the location. You can also sign up for an appointment after arriving at the park (one day in advance is required).
At a rally or event where SmartWeigh is available (Escapades, Boot Camp, etc.), you can register and pay at the SmartWeigh table or booth after you arrive at the event.
Permanent weighing sites offer easy and accurate weighing for traveling RVers.
Now with three scale locations to serve RV owners, the Escapees’ SmartWeigh makes it easier than ever to weigh an RV.
Site # 1
The weighing site at Rainbow’s End in Livingston, Texas, has been open all summer on reduced hours, and has resumed normal operating hours September 15. Appointments are available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. To sign up for weighing at Rainbow’s End, just call 888.757.2582 and ask for SmartWeigh registration, or come by the headquarters office in person at least one day in advance.
Site # 2
The SmartWeigh RV weighing site at North Ranch, in Congress, Arizona, will open for business November 24. Appointments are available Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, or to schedule an appointment at North Ranch, contact George Wickholm, the onsite weighmaster, at 509.999.4429 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Site # 3
The SmartWeigh RV weighing site at Sumter Oaks RV park, in Bushnell, Florida, opened for business September 22. Appointments are available Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, or to schedule an appointment at Sumter Oaks, contact Gaylord Coston, the onsite weighmaster, at 717.805.3400, or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Towed Vehicle (Toad): $10
Towable RV and Tow Vehicle: $55
Truck Camper: $45
Escapees SmartWeigh provides highly accurate corner weights (individual wheel weights) to help RV owners assure that their RV operates within all laws, rules, and recommendations it is subject to. The weights provided by SmartWeigh are not “certified weights”, and are intended for information purposes only.
We have chosen to be reasonably warm year-round, so we are snowbirds.
Every year when I hear the honks of the Canada geese overhead at our home in the Great White North, something in my genes starts pulling my inner-compass to the South. And an inner voice whispers: “Surely you’re as smart as a goose.”
Feeling that I am at least as smart as a silly goose, I line up the motorhome with that compass pointer and head for the Sun Belt.
Preparing your home for an extended absence requires thorough thought and planning.
Whether you’re new to taking extended RV trips or a veteran Snowbird, creating your own customized checklist is a great way to keep track of your seasonal preparations.
In the previous post, six tips on securing and winterizing your northern home were discussed.
Following are 10 additional tips to consider when creating your own winter-ready checklist:
Receiving your mail in a timely manner can be a major concern for snowbirds, full-timers, and other RVers who plan to be on the road for an extended period of time. Arrange with your local postal service to have your mail forwarded to a mailing forwarding address.
Pearl and Bud Crispell hit the road in their recreational vehicle the day after they retired in 1976. And for decades they traveled the country at will living in their 40-foot motorhome.
But, as is the eventual story of all road warriors, the day came when they hit the proverbial ‘end of the road’. Unable to manage some aspects of their life and care, living on fixed incomes, and not wanting to become a burden to friends and relatives, the Crispells pulled into the country’s only assisted-living RV Park, the Escapees Care Center in Livingston, Texas, according to AOL Real Estate.
At 93 and 90, Pearl, a retired nurse, and Bud, a former IBM engineer, are not without age-related health issues. But her mind is “sharper than my husband wishes it was,” Pearl says. And she has no desire to trade the small confines of their RV for a bigger “land-based residence,” as Escapees call conventional houses. “We didn’t retire to entertain our family,” she says.
Full-time travel in a recreational vehicle has become a popular lifestyle for independent-minded seniors. But age takes its toll, and there comes a time when even the hardiest have to think about parking the RV for good.
Ed and Rae Spake have a similar story to tell. In 1993, they sold their belongings to travel the country, visiting 35 states along the way and living for months in state parks in South Dakota, Utah, and Northern California.
When his vision failed, Ed, 71, was on Route 105 in East Texas, driving a van that pulled a 19-foot recreational vehicle that the couple had lived in for five years.
“I can’t see out of my right eye,” Ed told his wife. And with that, his driving days were over. The following year he was declared legally blind, a victim of age-related macular degeneration.
They moved to Escapees Care to get the health care they need while remaining in their RV, surrounded by kindred spirits.
The nonprofit adult day care and residency program bills itself as a refuge for RVers whose travels are permanently ended because of age or temporarily interrupted because of an illness, according to a feature on Columbia University News 21.
For a monthly fee of $824 per person, or $1,236 a couple, residents get a spot to park their homes-on-wheels; three meals a day, every day; two loads of laundry service a week; light housekeeping of their unit; transportation to medical appointments; and access to registered nurses on call 40 hours a week.
Currently the Care Center’s 35 sites are all occupied, by recreational vehicles ranging from minivans to 40-footers. Each unit has their own fresh water supply and a private septic system. While a few residents are in their 90s, most are in the mid- to late 80s, says Robert Brinton, the facility’s executive director and on-site manager. The center doesn’t have a waiting list or immediate plans to expand. When an opening occurs and there always seems to be someone who wants it, he said.
Brinton himself joined the Escapees RV Club in 2000 precisely because it has the Care Center. The 60,000-member strong club is founded on the “caring and sharing” principle, which appealed to him, Brinton says. Member donations built the Care Center; it has no mortgage and is thus able to keep expenses low.
The Care Center is often called “Kay’s Dream” after Kay Peterson, who founded the Escapees RV Club on July 4, 1978 as a way to unite the R.V. community; she and her husband, Joe, hit the road in their RV back in 1970. Rainbow’s End soon followed, along with similar parks where fellow travelers can establish residency, get mailing addresses and register to vote.
Today there are over 32,000 member-families.
As the years passed, Mrs. Peterson, a former nurse, watched physical ailments drive her peers into undesirable living situations. In 1997, with $170,000 in donations from Escapees Club members, she opened the Care Center. Now, residents’ dues cover about 56 percent of operating costs, while the rest is paid for with Escapees’ donations.
“If your situation changes, there’s nothing you can do about it,” said Mrs. Peterson, who lives in a detached single-family home at Rainbow’s End, her RV parked nearby. “I made up my mind years and years ago that if I ever could, I would start a place where you didn’t have to put a bunch of money down.”
Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!
1. Expanded Campground near Prescott Reopens
City of Prescott officials are reopening the campground at Watson Lake following the addition of campsites and upgraded sites, bringing the total to 35, reports Prescott eNews.
The campground is open Thursday through Monday nights and camping costs $15 per night.
Watson Lake also offers fishing and boating with two different launch ramps and canoe and kayak rentals are available during the weekends. The lake is located in the Granite Dells area along Highway 89 in Prescott.
Click here to read more on Watson Lake and Prescott.
2. Tennessee Passes Law Requiring Carbon Monoxide Detector in Rental RVs
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law a bill to require working carbon monoxide detectors in leased recreational vehicles.
The bill was sponsored by two Clarksville Democrats, Sen. Tim Barnes and Rep. Joe Pitts, in response to the deaths of five people from carbon monoxide poisoning at a biker charity event last year, The Associated Press reported.
The measure requires all lease or rental agreements to contain a statement acknowledging that the vehicle is equipped with a working detector.
Police said the deaths were accidental after a generator was found near a vent for the trailer where the five people were sleeping. There was no working carbon monoxide detector in the trailer.
To read more on the dangers posed by carbon dioxide, click here.
3. Save with Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card
Members of the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owner’s organization with over 1.3 million members across North America, now enjoy a new exclusive money-saving benefit with the Good Sam Club Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card.
Good Sam Club members can apply for their Pilot Flying J RV Plus Card which will allow them to save up to $.06 on each gallon of gasoline purchased and $.08 on diesel fuel purchased; 10 cents per gallon on bulk propane purchased, and 50 percent on holding tank dump station charges at all applicable Pilot Flying J locations in the United States.
Member discount is tied to length of time as an active Good Sam Member. The longer the card holder has been active member, the larger the discount.
The Escapees RV Club, headquartered in Livingston, Texas, will host the 52nd Escapade at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia Septenber 16-21.
A new series of seminar topics will focus on the full-time lifestyle in addition to an extensive lineup of educational workshops and lifestyle presentations for the RV enthusiast, according to a news release.
The Escapees RV Club currently has almost 60,000 members.
The gathering will also feature a number of activities, including evening entertainment, crafts sessions, line-dancing, RV driving classes, travel, computer, RV technical presentations, and daily socials.
In keeping with the Escapees mind-set of giving something back, the Club will support the Sedalia community with a food drive during the event.
In addition, Escapade delivers as much as a million dollars into the local economy while attendees shop, dine, and enjoy the charm of the local areas.
5. San Antonio River Walk: Jewel of the City
San Antonio is best known for being the Home of the Alamo and the San Antonio River, the center points of numerous activities in the downtown area. The river actually has its headwaters in northern San Antonio and travels southward through the city.
The Alamo is part of a chain of five Spanish missions that still stand along the river and served as religious institutions and economic centers 200 years ago. The five missions are somewhat connected by their proximity to the river and signage linking them along a route called the Mission Trail.
San Antonio’s Paseo del Río, or River Walk, ranks No. 1 or No. 2 each year as the most popular tourist attraction in Texas, with up to 3 million people visiting from throughout the world. The other No. 1 or No. 2 is The Alamo. It’s a moot issue really. If you travel here to take in the River Walk, you’ll almost certainly visit The Alamo, and vice versa. They’re just a couple blocks apart, connected by an “alley” with waterfalls, snazzy shops, and lush gardens.