Posted on September 11th, 2014 by David Bott
On this Patriots Day we remember that traveling in a motor coach and living on the road can be very rewarding and is a freedom we have. We are also honored to say, that traveling on the road has now meant more to us than we had every thought. And by that we mean, being able to help others. And not just other RV’ers via this blog or that we have met in person and offered assistance. Or even RV manufacturers, product developers, or RV Parks and resorts. But in this case, helping people you usually do not meet on the road…Our Wounded Warrior Veterans.
With all the social media a buzz with other worthwhile causes, we wanted to report in on our efforts as we have been working with Segs4Vets Foundation from 2008 when we first started traveling in a motor coach. Here was our last post on the foundation…Honoring our Wounded Warriors.
“Our focus is that when our severely injured return from Iraq and Afghanistan, they rise again, choosing the path of independence rather than dependence, once again becoming productive members of society, productive members of their family and continue to serve our nation.
The impact of the program resonates well beyond just the recipients; it extends to their wives, husbands, children, mothers, fathers and other family members whose lives have been turned upside down. For many, the Segway has had such a psychological impact on our recipients that it has brought about a dramatic positive change in family dynamics.
The Segs4Vets program provides successful candidates with a universally designed mobility device which does not draw attention to their disability. The Segway is a tool that is solving many of the mobility issues facing our disabled veterans, in a manner which is psychologically uplifting and physically beneficial and rekindling in our recipients the desire and motivation to continue to serve their families, their nation and their fellow man”
At this time we are pleased and proud to announce, through various efforts, that we have helped to raise over, not $1,000, not $10,000, not even $50,000. But now over $75,000.00 to date!
From money raised from other RV’ers that we have met along the way as we travel, to the auctions we have held through our own companies, to even fund raising efforts on our on-line community forums, it is the people that have come together to help make life better for many of our wounded warriors.
So to those of you, thank you. Thank you for making us smile and seeing yet another good side about being on the road in a RV. For being able to see the good of others that you meet along the way that you happen to mention it to, that later, unknown to you, make a donation and reference us because of that connection that was made on the road.
And to those RV Parks or RV’ers that insisted they give us something for the help we gave them, that money went right to the foundation. We told you we did not want anything for helping you and leaving it on our doorstep, while nice, was not needed. It was needed however for the veterans. (But we will confess, we ate the donuts and muffins.) So for now on, we will just reference that right off when you try to pay us for something we did not want to be paid for. Helping others is one of the reasons we hit the road after all.
Brenda and I would like to thank all that have not only been there for us in helping to make this possible, but of course to all the volunteers of the foundation who also receive no paycheck, yet give their time freely to make life better for our wounded veterans.
Segs4Vets, is an organization comprised of volunteers from across the United States, serving without compensation, which are committed to making a difference, and is certified as one of America’s Best Charities. They do not engage outside firms to solicit donations, or conduct direct mail campaigns. As such, we do what we can to spread the word.
The cost for each Segs4Vets award through 2014 is expected to average $9,750. Your contribution is greatly needed and deeply appreciated. As a 501 (c) (3) charity, financial contributions to Segs4Vets are tax deductible under the IRS code. The Federal Tax I.D. 55-0877645
So look, if you like the help we have given you. If you ever wanted to do something for us…Don’t! Instead, please make a donation Segs4Vets as it is a great cause you really do not hear about.
Here is a donation link if you so choose to use it… DONATION PAGE
(Please use us as a reference as we like to see how much our efforts have helped.)
Here is a video that shows Segs4Vets in action…
And this is the video we did for Segs4Vets of the Alamo Presentation…
Please, Please be so kind to share this post so we can continue the support.
Posted on September 7th, 2014 by Brenda
While traveling to our next destination along I80 westbound, we happened upon this gorgeous looking Archway Bridge. I grabbed the camera and took a couple shots out our rain soaked windshield and we thought, “What a cool looking bridge.” What we did not know until we passed it, and thankfully saw signs for it, was that this was a museum! They had great signs telling us that we could get off at the next exit and explore this museum and isn’t this what traveling is all about? Exploring things that you may not have known were there?
We had plenty of time before we needed to get to our next stop, so we decided to take the exit and see what this Archway was all about.
And boy are we glad we did!
The Archway is located in Kearney, Nebraska, which is known as the Sandhill Crane Capital of the World. The Sandhill Cranes are known to land here as a resting stop along their migration path, usually around the March timeframe. While it is not March and therefore no Sandhill Cranes, the Archway is one attraction in Kearney that you don’t want to miss any time of the year.
The Archway spans 310 feet across Interstate 80 and it presents 170 years of American history. It really is interesting learning about the actual road/route that we are on and how treacherous the journey was for the Pioneers. Learning about the Mormon, Oregon and California Trails with the wagon trains, the development of the Transcontinental Railroad and the Lincoln Highway among many others.
While traveling west appealed to many, a make it rich quick gold rush, there were no motels or even roads along the way. Once you were west of Chicago it was very difficult. These conditions created some of the early campers and RVers that had no choice but to make camp along the way.
The displays with the more modern highway system and how that came about, the laying of all the fiber optic lines along the highway and the boom of drive-ins and diners was interesting.
And if you forgot that the museum was built over Interstate 80, towards the end of the museum they have a couple windows that you can look out and view the traffic passing below. You can also check if someone is speeding.
This was, by far, one of the best museums we have come across in our travels. Very well done and rich in history.
When we came across Sitting Bull’s quote about the vast open spaces, it kind of rung true to us modern day RVer’s as well. He had it so right, even back then. Make sure you click on his image above and read the quote. I think you’ll agree.
I encourage all of you to stop when you see this Archway. You won’t be disappointed. And if you happen upon this gem late in the day, don’t fret. They do allow over night dry camping in their parking lot and their’s plenty of room for big rigs that are towing to turn around.
Our video ariel video footage made the ABC Local News…NTV ABC Coverage about the Archway.
When we left the Archway we headed further down the road to our next stop, North Platte, Nebraska. While this is just a stop along our route to Denver, CO, we decided to stay and see the Golden Spike Tower that over looks Bailey Yard, the World’s Largest Train Yard. But don’t take my word for it, in 1995 the Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest rail yard.
The Golden Spike Tower overlooks the Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard. Bailey Yard is where east meets west on the Union Pacific line.
Bailey Yard, named after the former Union Pacific President Edd H. Bailey, has 10,000 cars pass through there every day. It sits on 2,850 acres of land that stretches out 8 miles!
Put it to you this way…
It’s Really Big!
Going up to the top of the tower you can see the train yard in all its glory. The tower only goes up 8 stories. Nowhere near the height you would need to get a good view of the train yard. These pictures were taken from the highest point we could go. What you don’t see is that the trains stretch out for 8 miles in either direction.
Bailey Yard consists of, not only the train tracks and trains, but a full 24 hour repair facility that encompasses 3 football fields and can repair 750 engines a month.
And what about fuel? Well, Bailey Yard pumps out 14 million gallons of diesel fuel each month. So next time you fill up at the pumps their should be no complaining.
So Interstate 80 is full of surprises. Keep your eyes out next time you find yourself on this road and you could find a new adventure.
What? You want to see flyover videos? Well happy to say David did get out the quadcoptor to fly both areas and he surely did go above 8 stories. Enjoy!
Posted on September 2nd, 2014 by Brenda
You know when you find a nice place and you just happened to be passing through for a couple nights and you end up staying a month? Well, that’s what happened to us when we came upon River Ridge RV Resort in Stanwood, Michigan. Located in the western region of Michigan, about 45 minutes north of Grand Rapids.
River Ridge RV Resort is one of those gems that you find in the middle of nowhere. By that, I mean, it’s in the Manistee National Forest, near the Newaygo State Park on the Muskegon River. However it’s only 2 miles from Interstate 131 and shopping and restaurants are just one exit up in Big Rapids, MI. Which is just a quick 10-minute drive.
Being out in the forest though Internet, cable and cell signal can be spotty. We have Verizon and without our booster we only had 1 bar, maybe. In the booster we were able to get 4 bars. So that’s doable for us. Someone with AT&T said they were fine with their signal.
As far as Internet, the park does have wi-fi hotspots in their office and the community center. However, upon talking with the park management, being where they are located, they are only able to get 3 Mbps into the park, two T-1 lines. That’s it. Now add in that they run their office off of that same 3 Mbps. Now you can understand why only the hot spots. Needless to say we ran off of our unlimited data phones.
We were excited to learn that a local company will be putting in a WISP tower just up the road. So next season, if all goes as planned with the tower going up, they are going to plan on having park wide wi-fi. Which in a resort of this caliber, you would come to expect. They went as far to even ask David to advise on the design. That then lead to asking us to come back in the spring to do the programming and over see the install of the system. We told them that it would all depend on when they could get more data coming into the park.
They do offer cable at every site, however, that is provided by a DirecTV distribution center in the office. So it’s essentially down converted to standard def. Not ideal but hey, you are here for the resort, not TV. Right? Good thing our satellite dish worked just fine.
It was very peaceful there. No trains. No planes. No traffic noise.
Cement fire pits and large plastic picnic tables at every site.
The pull thru sites are really long and wide and as you can see, cement. Most of the resort actually has cement pads. Plenty of room to fully set up our 45-foot Tiffin Allegro Bus and have lots of room for our tow vehicle and then some. Some of the back in sites would have been a little tighter for a big rig. However I did see some maneuver into a back in when needed. For a big rig the pull thru would definitely be the way to go. In my humble opinion.
This is a park where you can get a seasonal site, however there is a waiting list. The owner’s and the management are working on improving some of the sites and making more of them seasonal but don’t let that stop you from visiting. There are still plenty of transient sites available. And the seasonal sites are very well maintained to keep up with the resort landscaping. So no worries there.
There is a good-sized marina on the premises. So bringing your boat or personal watercraft along for your stay is encouraged. They also have an excellent store with all your essentials and a really good grill and ice cream shop that makes some really good chocolate malt shakes. Not that I would know anything about that.
There were some gorgeous evenings when the sky just lit up. One moment it was orange and the next it was purple. Simply breathtaking. (Non-retouched photos.)
The new management has really improved this resort in the last couple of years. We have not been here before but from what we had heard from other guests, it was more of a party place. Now they have truly raised the bar to make it more of the resort that it should be.
David had an opportunity to fly his quadcopter and produced an outstanding video of the resort. I think it’s one of my favorite videos of a RV Park that he has done thus far.
Posted on August 31st, 2014 by Brenda
So I just wanted to take this opportunity to show you these two amazing pictures of our coach as we are so very proud of how it all came out. (Yes, we know it has been six months.)
I know…I know…You can’t get enough of us talking about our coach. (Ok, so maybe you can.)
But then again, either can we. (Ok, so maybe we are “slightly” bias.)
When we had our coach built and thus painted, we had different Tiffin colors applied in a different order never used before. In fact one of the colors is usually used as a stripe color and we used it as a base color. (This made for it’s own issues…ah the memories.) Doing this was very nerving to say the least, as you really do not know how it would really look until it was done. After all, the rendering on paper is surely not the actual paint colors. So we needed to go on faith that what we came up with would all flow together and give us the desired result that we had envisioned in our heads. We even named it… “Solar Storm”.
We were very proud of the look in the end to say the least. But to get to that point it took a lot of work. We, and of course Tiffin, went above and beyond for our paint process to get our coach looking as good as it does. (And yes, paid for in end, as this was no small task. Please do not ask.)
When people see the coach in person, it seems as if they get lost in it. It truly looks like glass. But what really makes the coach stand out, and why they seem to keep looking as they walk by, is because of what it looks like at not only in different lights of the day, but also at different angles as you walk.
When it’s cloudy, the coach looks muted but yet still classy as such a Tiffin product should. It takes on a dark look. It’s different. It stands out. Which is what we were going for.
Now when the sun shines down on it or based on your angle of view and thus how the light hits it, it really comes alive and stands out.
So below I present to you two pictures. One of our coach when the sun was behind clouds and one when the sun was out, shining full on, and a slight change of angle.
Be amazed by what paint can do…
Same coach? You be the judge. :) At Sunrise or at sunset is the best time to view the coach in our humble opinion.
We truly thank the team at Tiffin who helped to make this happen. From not only the sales directors and reps, but also the management at the paint plant. (They surely had their reservations as to our choice and had to believe in us. After all, it is a Tiffin’s name on the coach.) But also of course to the employees who worked to make it happen. Thanks guys, and gals, we are still in awe over it. And Mr. Tiffin, we will never forget you walking up behind us as we admired the work and saying “That is one fine looking motor home.” But again, I think he also may be just “a little” bias.
Here is a quick one minute flyby video to see the Solar Storm paint taken at two different RV Resorts. Note how the stripes reveal themselves as you move by the coach. At some angles, the coach looks almost black.
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