Sunday, December 9, 2007

Budget Spreadsheet

I’ve been working on creating a budget spreadsheet for RV Fulltimers using Microsoft Excel. Most Rvers with laptops have Microsoft software and Excel is usually being used, so that is the format I elected.

No two budgets are alike, but a spreadsheet is easily modified to accommodate even the most detailed ones. You can download your own copy by going to

Feel free to modify my format to suit your own needs. You may even give it away to your friends if you wish. What you may not do is sell the spreadsheet to anyone.

Points of Interest

Recently I discovered a web site that has Points of Interest (POI) files you can download into your favorite GPS mapping software. I use CoPilot Live for my laptop, and the POI files work really well. Instructions for CoPilot Live and other GPS mapping software are included on the web site The individual files can be downloaded from

All files are zipped text files. You will need an unzip utility to unzip the files you download. Free unzip utilities are available on the internet. Once you have downloaded and unzipped the files, you will import them into your GPS mapping software. The exact procedure depends on which map software you are using.

NOTE - in each case, it is assumed that you have downloaded AND unzipped the files, and that you have your GPS mapping program running. After you have unzipped the files, you will have files with the extension TXT. These are the files you will import into your program.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


This post is an experiment to learn the basics of blogging and determine the best format for future postings. It will change periodically when new things are learned. This trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee actually took place in July, 2006.


Slideshow Gatlinburg

Grandma had taken Thursday and Friday off from work so we could go camping. Poppa drove off and on; we would pull off when he got tired and we would sleep for a couple of hours. We knew we did not have much time so we wanted to get there as quick as possible.

We arrived at Twin Creek RV Resort sometime mid morning Thursday. Poppa hung out at the campsite and we went swimming. Grandma got yelled out by some lady for wearing water shoes in the pool; now isn’t that what they are for. Grandma took her shoes off and we swam in the pool until we heard thunder so we had to get out.

We met the people in the site next to ours and they were from Chesapeake, Virginia, and their parents lived in Tennessee. The other thing that was strange, their uncle was Neal Thompson, who used to work with John on the VBPD; now that was weird. We ate dinner and the rains really came down; no marshmallows tonight. We were all so tired and we were going to be busy the next day. We were all in bed and asleep by 10PM.

Friday morning we were headed to find some pretty stones. Jessie wanted to go mining again and add to her collection. We found the mining place, got our stones and then we had to pick out what kind of jewelry we wanted. Jessie had a blue stone and Grandma an emerald (her birthstone). Jessie wanted her stone to be cut and set to a tune of 5-10K. Poppa knew what Jessie wanted, and the lady couldn’t believe that. Sure enough, Jessie told the lady she wanted the stone just like hers on her finger. The lady convinced Jessie that was way to big for her now, and when she got older she could get one bigger. Jessie got a nice necklace and Grandma did the same with her stone.

After the jewelry was done we headed off to see some real black bears. They were in a cage in the back of the store. It was kind of sad because the cage was not that big.

We were off to eat because Poppa was hungry. We stopped at some BBQ place and had lunch. After lunch, we rode through the Smokey Mountains for a while, and then we rode up this road named after some poker player; Chris Moneymaker Lane. He won the World Series of Poker tournament in 2005.

After the ride, we were back to the camper. Traffic was really bad and Poppa wanted to start his campfire. As long as there were marshmallows, Jessie was all for it. Poppa and Jessie had the good marshmallows and Grandma had all the burnt ones.

Saturday morning we were off to see the sea animals at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, and that was so neat. We really all had a super time. We saw sharks, little fish, big fish and even bigger fish. We saw ugly fish, funny looking fish, pretty fish, fat fish and skinny fish; they had them all. They also had colorful fish, boring fish and dull looking fish. After all that walking we did, Poppa was hungry again so we had a nice lunch there. And, of course, we went shopping too. Some jewelry, a snow globe, s shot glass for Grandma and even some candy. Then we were off to catch the trolley to go do some more shopping. While we were in line Jessie dropped her snow globe and broke it.

The craft show we went to was ok; not a lot of stuff for little people. I did get my face painted; this nice guy put a butterfly on my face. We did watch a lady carve a bear out of a big log that was cool. She used a chainsaw to carve it. After the craft show, we just rode around for a while to check out the sites; it was very crowded.

We had a great time and on Sunday we headed back to Virginia Beach. We took Route 81 to Route 58. And ... boy was that a mistake. Route 58 took us through "lover's leap" which was at the top of a mountain. That wasn't so bad, but the road leading up to it and then back down again was something John wished he had avoided.

On the way down the mountain, a sign said 7% grade for 3 miles, Maximum speed 35 MPH. John had to stop halfway down due to his breaks heating up. He was in 3rd gear and had the exhaust brake on. The bus was still accelerating.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Monaco Cayman

Since purchasing our new motorhome (36' Monaco Cayman diesel pusher), we have traveled up and down the east coast by ourselves, with others and with our granddaughter Jessica. You can view our web site at

There, you will find links to places we have visited along with other information for RVJunkies / campers like ourselves.

Our blog (here) is where we will post information (almost daily) when we decide to go fulltiming.

Adventure (part 1)

When John retired, he and Sissy had never been camping together before and decided to take a 4 month vacation across country.

" . . . We wanted to take a trip across America and couldn’t decide whether to ride our motorcycle or bring it along inside a trailer, sleep in motels or pull a camper, eat fast food or cook our own meals. These questions were but a few puzzling us before heading out on our Adventure Across America . . . "

Ultimately, they decided it would be a good idea to buy a small camper that could haul their Harley Davidson motorcycle inside and out of the weather. Small and relatively inexpensive was the plan! With a new truck, a brand new Terry 21C Sport Utility Trailer and a fairly new HD FatBoy, they headed out from Virginia Beach, Virginia on their journey.

" . . . Planning our adventure took six months and was primarily accomplished using many resources on the Internet. The Planning/Useful Links section of our web site includes several hyperlinks you can use to gather information for yourself. The Internet was also used to gather information about necessary equipment. Our Equipment/Checklists section includes several items purchased for our Adventure as well as the checklists we used during our trip . . . "

Expenses are an important concern for anyone taking a vacation or embarking on an extended adventure. John and Sissy recorded their daily expenses and share these in their Expenses section (spreadsheet format) you can use as a guide. An Average Per Day for each expense item is included, and these figures are more important than the Total.

Finally, the Journal section includes a link to each place they visited. The locations are sorted by State using the Index. You can also view the locations in chronological order by selecting Emporia, Virginia first and then clicking the (next page in chronological order) link at the bottom of each page.

John loves his computers and Sissy loves her digital camera so they decided to document their trip. Seventy-two (72) different locations and over 8,000 pictures later, they finished their Adventure Across America. They caught the RV-Junkie bug and have since sold their camping trailer and purchased a 36' Monaco Cayman motorhome. They also created a new web site