Friday, February 28, 2014

Last few days at Lake Minden Feb 28, 2014

We are finishing up our last few days here at this Thousand Trails preserve, Lake Minden. It has been a good stay. The weather has been great. We played a round of golf the other day. I shot a 51 and Donna a 55.

When we leave here Sunday, we are heading north to Oroville, CA to visit 2 of Donna's brothers for a few days. After that, we are thinking of going West to Highway 101, The Redwood Highway, and slowly work our way toward Washington.

I guess the California drought is coming to an end. Lots of rain yesterday and today.

This gives us lots of 'inside' time. Donna is working hard since her sewing machine is broke and in the shop.

I got caught up on various web page updates. Both on, and our blog. I also am trying to add more pictures of Donna and I in the blog.

I did another update on the 'Statistics and Budget' section of It seems our monthly budget is always changing. Our health insurance has increased (more on this later), Dish Network has raised their price, and I was notified that my truck insurance is going up too. I made provisions for once a year vehicle registrations and Costco membership too.

February has been a good month. We have saved quite a bit by staying in a TT park and not doing a lot of driving. It made up for buying a new Blue Boy, new SD license tabs for our rigs, and some stocking up on food from Costco. 

I also keep track of our camping totals. Where we stay each month and how much we pay. Always trying to get our money's worth out of our 'memberships'.

Here are the 'average cost per night' of camping since we hit the road the first part of September 2013. It is amazing!

September 2013  -  $14.55

October 2013 - $11.23

November 2013 - $11.38

December 2013 - $11.13

January 2014 - $7.09

And February 2014 - a big whopping $0.71!!!

This gives us the opportunity to build up our 'Emergency/Unexpected Expenses' fund. For those broken truck/foot times.

Our clubs/memberships are - Thousand Trails, KM, RPI, Escapees, Elks, Passport America, Good Sam, and Enjoy America. We ARE getting our money's worth. They are only a good deal...if you use them!

Insurance update - Kyle Henson ( ) got a hold of me and has been helping me through the health insurance headaches. He helped me get an insurance policy after I was cancelled by Sanford Insurance out of South Dakota. He also verified that RVers that are insured through Avera of South Dakota can use the PHCS National Network of providers. Donna had to change her policy in order for me to get insured. Now we are both with Avera. We have the Avera MyPlan $2500/$6350 PPO Silver plan. After the government subsidy, we only have to pay #317.37. Now this is doable.

Thanks to Kyle for helping us sort this out.

Allen & Donna Ferguson

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lake Minden - February 22, 2014

We are just finishing our first week here at Lake Minden. Weather has been just gorgeous here. Temps into the low 70s during the day, and mid 40s at night, with lots of blue sky too.

I have been walking every morning.

I have been using an app on my Samsung SIII phone I downloaded called MapMyWalk. It is a pretty cool app. It uses GPS to mark your route on a map, keeping track of time and distance. It even records elevation change. And free too! I'm up to 3.25 miles now on my trip around the 41 acre Lake Minden here in the park.

While I do my walking, Donna is busy sewing the Good Sam vests.

She has 35 completed and working on the last 15.

We took a trip into Rocklin and Roseville to visit Walmart, Jo Anne Fabrics, Costco, and Camping World. We had to pick up some more thread and bias tape for her sewing. She sure will be glad to get them all done

Washed my shoes yesterday...........

While at Camping World, I picked up a 'Blue Boy'.

I chose a 27 gallon one because we have 2 grey tanks and a black tank, each 45 gallons. Many campground have water and electric, with a centrally located dump station. Now we can dump without moving the rig. And we can do laundry by leaving the Blue Boy connected and leaving Grey tank #1 open.

A few issues had to be addressed.

First... my sewer connection is a little lower that the top of the Blue Boy.

This will cause a bit of leakage (barf, barf) of nasty water when disconnecting the Blue Boy hose. Issue solved by using a container to catch the leakage.

And this is working out just fine.

Second issue is the female end on the sewer drain hose. I would not be able to connect the 90 degree threaded end that would stick into the sewer drain at the dump station. So I made one.

I used an old cam-lock fitting with a male connector end and added a sewer donut.

That should do the trick. It should seal around the sewer drain while dumping.

Our first trip with our new Blue Boy set-up. We hauled a very full black tank load to the dumping site using the hitch on the back of my truck.

So far so good....

I stuck my newly created hose end into the drain. It really wouldn't fit very well, and it made the hose rise up too far. I tried to bend it around to make the stuff flow into the hole better.
My newly created hose end popped off and stuff went everywhere......hence the shoe washing.

Who needs a hose end anyway. After 4 dumps, we now have the hang of it.

I also got to wash my truck (not because of a spill). I paid the 5 bucks here at the park for a wash permit. I used a bucket and sponge. This is the first time I have washed it this way since buying it back in October. I prefer doing it this way.

Looks pretty good.

I went to the little Post Office here in Nicolaus, CA to pick up a General Delivery shipment from Americas Mailbox. Who would have thought that the Post Office is only open M-F from 8 AM to Noon? Small town protocol I suppose.

I am also watching closely the Health Insurance changes going on for RVers who claim residency in South Dakota. Donna has Avera, and I was cancelled by Sanford. But I hear that Avera is now allowing their PPO insurance policy holders to use the PHCS National Network for not only emergency care, but for routine care also. I will make some calls Monday to verify, but hopefully I will get on with Avera also. For a bit, we thought we may have to change our domicile to Texas.

Health insurance.....sheesh!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lake Minden, Nicolaus, CA

Feb 16, 2014, a beautiful travel day. Only 87 miles to drive today from Turtle Beach to Lake Minden. These are both Thousand Trails preserves. We are spending 2 weeks at each

The trip up I-5 went smoothly, even through Sacramento. Driving on a Sunday made a big difference. There was construction on Hwy 99 right where we were to exit towards the RV park. We continued on and by the time I decided I had better turn around, The 87 mile trip turned into 111 miles. I think it is time to update my GPS to get all the new construction work data.

So far since entering California, I have been able to fuel up at stations that had diesel prices under $4.00 a gallon. In Tehachapi we fueled up at a Love's station for $3.91, and in Manteca at a Super Stop station for $3.99. I see that further north we go, the cheaper it gets. Cool!

We arrived at the Lake Minden park.

The park surrounds Lake Minden. section A is the only section with full hookups. But they are very, very close together. And I saw a sign stating...'Low voltage in section A'.

We moved on to section D. Lots of room, Water and Electric (30 amp). And we picked out a really nice site.

Lake Minden is pretty large and pretty. The park road goes all around it. We are going to enjoy walking/biking it while we are here.

And we even have a pretty good view of the lake through out living room window.

Over by the mini-golf and horseshoe pits, there are a couple of strange trees growing. I had to get some pics of them.

Look at the Palm tree growing in the center of the tree. Is that cool or what?!

So while we are here, Donna is working hard making vests for the staff members of the Washington State Good Sams. She volunteered to make 50 new green vests for the staff. They voted to change colors and so everyone will have their new vest to wear at the Lynden Campout in Lynden, WA this coming April 1st.

Here she is cutting out the last set of medium sized vests. She should have all 50 finished while we are here.

I am the webmaster for the Washington State Good Sam's web site. Not as hard of job that Donna has, as long as I have an internet connection.

When she is not working on the vests, she keeps busy knitting, crocheting, or making something.

I usually just chill!

After all, I've only been retired since June 3rd. I'm still adjusting.....  :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A San Francisco Visit Feb 11, 2014

It finally stopped raining here. The sun came out and it was a great day for a road trip. We headed to San Francisco. It is only 77 miles from us, so we had to go.

We traveled across the Oakland Bay Bridge.

This is the first time we have been across this bridge. It cost 4 bucks, but it sure is an improvement over the old bridge.

On to Fisherman's Wharf. We found a good parking lot real close for $15.00 a day.

Time to explore!

A good shot of Alcatraz Island. Would love to tour the place. But no time today.

Me... and the Rock.

Had several cool exhibits at the Wharf. This is a couple of WWII ships.

A photo op spot close by our parking place.

We decided to take a 'Hop on, Hop off' tour around downtown San Francisco.

We sat on top of a double decker red bus.


Our tour guide, Rodger, narrated the trip. Lots of history.

Union Square art.

Yep, some strange folks in this city.

And cool buildings.

Everything is so close together. Old right next to new.

The trolley cars were out.

We visited several neighborhoods. Each had their own culture and history.

Chinatown was amazing....even though we couldn't read half the signs.

There is the famous triangle building.... the Transamerica building.

Really cool old churches were spread throughout the city.

We spent some time at Pier 39.

And what is that strange sound coming from down the pier?

Sea lions! Lots of them.

They were sunning themselves and doing a lot of hollering too.

I saw this arch and tour bus.....

Then the photo op presented itself.... Alcatraz in the arch. Cool!

Donna met a friend of hers. Had to get a pic.

We left SF via the Golden Gate Bridge. Too bad it was fogged in a bit.

Such a cool piece of American history here.

We stopped at a vista point and took a few last shots.

My truck....and the bridge.

SF skyline.

Back to Manteca we go. And diner at Applebee's....our favorite place.

Less than a week, and we're off again.