R.O.W. with Mick and Chick

(Retire Our Way) with Mick and Chick

Author: Mick

Getting Our Vitamin Sea

 

We spent the Winter in paradise, you know… Phoenix, AZ.  Our sticks and bricks home has been lonely for us the previous 18 months, every since Mick retired.  We were traveling all but ten weeks until this Winter (2017/2018).  Mick had cataract surgery scheduled for This Winter and we had a two week cruise lined up for the Spring of 2018.  We decided to lay low and enjoy our home and we hoped to plan a few small trips with Sugar and maybe a trip or two to Vegas until the surgeries were over.  Mick is a huge college football fan and loves the Saturday’s in the Fall and the bowl games starting in mid December and run until the Campionship game in early January.

We won’t spend a lot of time on the cataract surgeries; but, they didn’t go as planned.  Mick did the mono vision and the plan was not to need glasses.  The bottom line is both eyes healed with near sighted vision.  So, Mick still needs to wear glasses.  The good news is… he use to have coke bottle bottoms for glasses with horrible far sighted vision.  Now he has near sighted vision and doesn’t need glasses around the house or the RV.  Really only needs them to drive so street signs aren’t blurry.  But, it’s still a disappointment to need glasses.  As Mick says, he would not have done mono vision if he knew he would end up with glasses.  Oh well, it’s how you adjust to plan B that matters in life… right?

VITAMIN SEA

Have we ever said, we love to cruise?  Yep, we could probably live on a cruise ship. We always wanted to cruise thru the Panama Canal and have tours of the Central America countries.  We own a partial interest in a condo in Costa Rica (no it is not a timeshare).  We have flown to Costa Rica and driven around the country but not the other  Central American countries.

This was our itinerary.  It was a good mixture of old ports and new stops we have not seen.

The photos below are from Guatemala…

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COSTA RICA

We do like Ticos.  That’s what they call Costa Rican’s.  They are very friendly and 95% speak English.  Their second currency is the US Dollar.  The Dollar is the only currency in Panama.  In a survey a few years ago, Ticos were voted the second friendliest in the World.  Sorry, we don’t know who was number one.  Here are some photos from Costa Rica…

What sport do you think they watch in a Sports Bar…?

THE PANAMA CANAL

We were lucky and were allowed to travel thru the “old canal”.  If you are expecting “action”, forget it.  The ship literally crawls thru the canal.  It took eight hours… The old canal runs parallel with the new canal.  Watching the ship move thru the canal is like watching paint dry… You could walk beside the ship quicker than it moves. With that said, it is very interesting and worth seeing at least once in your life.

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

We thought the least favorite stop would be Cartagena, Colombia.  After all…. who would want to see Colombia?  Wow, we’re we blown away.  It looked like Miami with all the Hotels and condos along the coast.  If you ever have a chance to go, it is well worth the trip.

We took the tour of the old town in horse buggies and absolutely loved it….

THE WORLD CRUISE SHIP

We mentioned if we had the money we would love to cruise full time.  When we got back to port from our Old Town tour, the cruise ship called The World had docked next to our ship.  You need to Google The World, it is condos that you buy for one million $$’s plus.  We think they go up to Fifteen Million or so.  It is a condo association and the owners vote each year on what ports they want to travel too.  Of course the owners are busy people and they fly in and out of major ports to get on or off for however long they want to travel and stay on the ship.  Yes, they can let friends, relatives use their condo.

SOUTH MIAMI BEACH

We disembarked at Tampa and drove our rental car to Orlando for a week and then a week at Miami Beach.  We stayed in Orlando in a last minute deal thru RCI.  Orlando was over built with timeshares and you can always get a last minute deal for around $40 a night or $280 for a week.

We went onto to South Miami Beach and stayed at an Art Deco Timeshare thru Hilton Grand Vacation Club using our HGVC points.  We show a day and night photo of the building.  We were just down the street from where Gianni Versace was murdered in front of his home…

Directly across the street was the sidewalk for South Beach.  Very interesting area and fun to walk around…

BIG PINE KEY…

We drove down thru the Keys to Big Pine Key and visited Chicks cousin and spouse at their Class A in an RV Park.

There was still a lot of damage from Hurricane Irma…

NO NAME PUB

We had a fun time and great food at The No Name Pub on Big Pine Key.  We recommend it for good food at a reasonable price…

We did not drive to Key West on this trip.  We have been there many times in the past.  Everyone needs to see Key West.  It’s a major part of Americana and should be on your bucket list.  We flew back to Sugar and our S/B in Phoenix to plan our Summer in Tahoe.

THE TOP OF TAHOE

We have learned that RV’ing in the Summer months is completely different than RV’ing any other time of the year. When we RV, we really prefer not to make reservations.  Our preference is making up our mind as we roll along. That way we can change the direction we go… as we go. We try hard to stay on the highways not the Interstates and discover things as they come along. Not planning to far in advance and changing our mind as we go. For us, the high vacation months of June, July and August with the real peak season being July 1st thru August 15th, are not as much fun as the other times of the year. So, we try to enjoy the cooler weather in Tahoe and stay at The Ridge and let the young families have the RV parks and camp grounds during the hot vacation season. When the schools start back in session, we like to travel and hit the parks again.

We love spending the Summer months at the Top of Tahoe; or, as it is also known as… The Ridge at Tahoe.

Sunset from the Tahoe Ridge…

We love the mountains in Colorado, The Lake of the Ozark’s and the casinos in Las Vegas. The Ridge at Tahoe gives us a little of all three at one location:  the Sierra Mountains, Lake Tahoe and the casinos.

This year our timeshares started on June 3rd and had two weeks at the Ridge and then two weeks to travel in the RV. Then back to Tahoe on June 30th until the first weekend in August. We had more two bedroom units this year than we normally have. The problem with the time shares at The Ridge Are, we have to plan our vacation 24 months in advance. If you own one timeshare at the Ridge, you can reserve your week 23 months in advance. If you own two or more then you can set up your week 24 months in advance. So, we have to reserve our units two years in advance in order to get the weeks we want and the rooms that we want with the best view.  We have our Ridge timeshares for 2019 already cast in stone.

We loved being in the mountains the first two weeks of June. This was a first for us. During the past Winter, the Ridge received over 61 feet of snow. There was a lot of white on top, just like Mick and Chick, we have a lot of white on top.

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One day in early June this year, it snowed and accumulated just enough to hang around for half a day. It was fun to be in the mountains and watch it snow! We were a little concerned that Sugar would need to be winterized. But, lucky for us, it didn’t get that cold. Close but no cigar.

We have some beautiful pics we took of the Carson Valley that is on the East side of The Ridge.  In this photo, we were above the rainbow!

This year’s timeshares had a two week gap for the last two weeks in June. We made the rash decision to drive over to the Southern Oregon Coast to visit with John J, an old friend of Mick’s who owed us a 12 PAC of beer. Did we ever say that Mick likes college football? Well… John J. lost a bet two years ago and we promised that we would stop by and collect.

This seemed like a good time to do so. Mick might be good at college football but it doesn’t look like he is good at collecting bets. We drove from Tahoe to the Oregon coast and back just to collect a 12 Pac of beer? ? ? Who really won the bet? To be honest… the friendship means so much more than the payoff and we would collect that way every time.  We spent an hour or two laughing and telling stories; and, some might have even been true?

We found a couple of CG’s in Southern Oregon right on the coast. One we will gladly recommend (the video below) and one was OK but probably not  worth recommending.

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This is the River Side RV Park.

We got back to Tahoe and started our timeshares on June 30th and they ran thru August 5th. The July 4th week is always a sought after week for vacations and this year we were lucky and had two different, two bedroom units.

This is Mick, Chick, MaryAnn, Henrietta and Ike.

We had some really close, old friends come visit us and share the July 4th week. When we say “old” friends, we are not referring to their age. We have known these people since 1979 and we have been on many a vacation together. Ike and Henrietta & Jerry and Mary Ann. Jerry can no longer travel and is in a nursing home. We were lucky to have three out of four come spend the week. The six of us had rented a vacation home at the Tahoe Keys for the 4th of July, 25 years ago. So, that made this a special week, returning to the seen of the crime exactly 25 years later. How many people can say they went on vacation with some old friends exactly 25 years later to the same place?

Our grandson, Joey is going to college at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. We were asked to take his dorm furniture in our van from Phoenix, AZ to Nashville, Tennessee. When we left Tahoe we went back to Phoenix for a few days. Loaded Joey’s furniture and headed to Nashville.

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Lower Broadway Street in Nashville, TN.

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We were given a private tour of The Bradley Studios that produced hits by Patsey Cline, Red Foley, Brenda Lee, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Roger Miller, George Jones and Tammy Wynette.

The fantastic news is… we were in Nashville the weekend before the solar eclipse. No one has ever accused us of being dumb. Yep, we stayed thru Tuesday so we could see the eclipse in the path of totality.

Mick and Chick have travelled the world but, have never been to Nashville. We loved it. Lots of things to do. Lots of nice homes to see. Lots of great restaurants.

This is the Batman Building and in the lower left is the Ryman Auditorium.

The American Pickers warehouse.

We saw something in Nashville that was amazing.  We had stopped for lunch at a Chick-fil-A and while we were eating it was pouring down rain.  We watched as a woman was trying to get in her car with a baby in a stroller.

The manager grabbed an umbrella and went out and helped her.

He then blocked traffic so she could pull out.  When we left Mick went over and told him, “You are my hero!”  That was above and beyond the call of duty and why Chick-fil-A has such large crowds.  They are famous for going out of their way to help people.  They offer that good old fashion “down home” Southern hospitality.  They say, “It was my pleasure, Sir”.

Nashville is a town that would be easy to make your home. Either as a S/B or a RV.

We left Nash and drove to North Central Arkansas for a week at another timeshare on a lake for one of their Last Minute Deals. It was at the Crown Point Resort at Crown Lake at Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

We had a very nice condo. In fact it was the nicest condo we have ever had on one of the Last Minute Deals. They only average about $40 a night, $280 for a week. Some “Last minute deals” are OK and some are dumps. We try hard not to stop at the dumps. The condos at The Crown Point Resort were very nice. You can see in the photos. It was a good week of not having to use the CG showers, etc… We got to relax in the condo and drive the van to a different neighboring town everyday.

We left Arkansas and headed to the Blue Springs Lake CG East of KC, MO. Mick and Chick both went to school and were raised in KC. Mick went to Rockhurst High School and Chick went to Van Horne High School.  We love going back and eating at some of the old places.

Yes, there is still a Mugs Up on 23rd Ave in Independence, MO.

A Little BBQ Joint in Independence, MO.  And we never miss eating at Hi Boys and In A Tub.

We stayed thru the Labor Day weekend and then drove to Gretna, NE to driveway camp with our daughter, son-in-law and four of our grandkids.

Mick and Chick had a fun time with our four grandkids in Gretna, NE and then headed home to Phoenix.

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Yep, that’s us driving down the Interstate listening to one of our favorite songs.  We normally do everything we can to avoid the Interstates but decided we had been gone from home a long time.  We calculated that we have only been home in Phoenix ten weeks in the past 17 months.  Mick has cataract surgery coming up in October and November.  We will then watch some college football bowl games in Vegas, go to the CES in Vegas in early January and then a two week cruise thru the Panama Canal the last of January.   So, we will be hanging around Arizona (Paradise) this Winter and enjoying our retirement!

 

WE LEFT OUR HEART IN SO MANY PLACES

CORPUS CHRISTI

We said good bye to Harlingen, Texas and headed to Corpus Christi. To be more exact, we headed to the island in the gulf just off Corpus Christi. It’s the northern part of South Padre Island. We referred to it as North Padre Island, which is incorrect but it sounds good since South Padre island is a lot farther South near Brownsville, Texas.

We caught up with Chick’s two cousins from Missouri.  They were fishing off shore.  Have a great video of cousin Ronnie cleaning their fish.  Look at our FB page, you’ll find the link.

We spent the night at Laguna Shore Village RV Park on the mainland.

Ronnie, Sharon, Harold and Leta were boondocking on the island. We would love to park with them but were having trouble with our two, eight month old AGM batteries. They couldn’t hold a charge more than one hour. Yes, you heard right.  Only eight month old and both are bad.  We would love to know if it was something we did wrong or a freak from Trojan.  We think we are good battery managers and never let them go below half.  I guess we will never know…  Later in this blog, you will hear Trojan made good and gave us two new batteries. All is well now, but in Corpus Christi we had to have a RV park to plug into shore power.

DALLAS, TEXAS

Next we drove to Dallas and driveway camped at Mick’s niece, Peggy’s home. Lucky for us her partner is a retired electrical engineer. He bought $50 worth of wire and a 30 amp plug and ran an extension out to our Roadtrek. After we left he reused the parts for another project. What a deal! ! ! It was hot enough to use our A/C and we had all the juice we needed.

DURANT, OKLAHOMA – Choctaw Casino

We left Texas going through Oklahoma and stopped at a Choctaw Casino KOA which is the number one KOA in the country. I took a lot of photos because you couldn’t believe this place. The bathrooms and showers were like an expensive Private Country Club. Yes, I wasn’t kidding, they are rated the number one KOA in the country! ! ! They are located at Durant, OK and worth the drive just to see this place.   Enjoy the photos…

BLUE SPRINGS LAKE

We were on storm watch and watched the storms throughout Texas and Oklahoma and successfully avoided anything serious. But, next we headed into Missouri and hit lots of rain. We still avoided anything serious but it was cold and rainy everyday. Poor Missouri was hit hard with floods while we were there. Lucky for us, not in our area. One night the storm blew all the new leaves off the tree directly behind us. Sugar looked like she had the measles…

GRETNA, NEBRASKA

We went to Nebraska and watched our grandson win two more State championships in wrestling. He’s an animal and had an unbelievable year. He went undefeated for the year and tied the Nebraska State Record with 42 pins.  We are proud of him! Wish him well in college wrestling.  They are visiting colleges now trying to decide which offer to accept.  It’s fun watching and listening to how the process works.

We have been conversing with Trojan batteries trying to get them to honor their warranty. We bought two 6 volt AGM batteries last August when we were on the coast in Lincoln, OR. We have been to two different RV repair shops and had copies of their tests that show both batteries are bad. Trojan insisted we have them tested by one of their distributors. So when we told them we were headed to Omaha, they sent us to one of their Master Distributors that is located in Omaha. They did their test on the batteries and agreed with the two test we had done by RC repair shops.  Hallelujah! Our Sugar Shack is well again and running on two strong AGM batteries.  Her heart is pumping strong again.   The only thing we are not happy with is the warranty on their two new batteries. They said the warranty of the two we bought last August applies to the two new batteries we just received. So these two new batteries are already into their warranty about ten months. That doesn’t seem right. I would think they should receive a brand new warranty. We really do not know if this is normal in the warranty business. If there is an expert in our group… please let us know with a post on our Facebook page, ROW With Mick And Chick.

We ate pizza at the number one pizza restaurant in the U.S., Johnny Sortino’s.  That’s our opinion but they do have signs up saying they are number in Omaha; and, that’s saying something because Omaha is the home of Godfather’s Pizza and Valentino’s.  Stop by sometime and eat their meat lover’s pizza.  We think they call it the Four Meat Pizza.  Ohhh, it is so good….

And… we ate the world’s best onion ring at Big Fred’s Restaurant.  Ok, ok, you are right….  That’s just our opinion.  But, you gotta understand, we eat onion rings everywhere we go.  Honestly, we have never had better tasting anywhere!  Try them yourselves and see if you don’t agree…

STROMSBURG, NEBRASKA

We left Omaha heading to Lake Tahoe for our Summer Timeshares. Our plan was to drive to the Reno airport and leave Sugar parked in long term parking while we flew to Phoenix for a grandson’s graduation. Omaha and Reno are both on I-80. But, we think driving on an interstate is like seeing the same four lanes, mile after mile with a lot of semi-trucks, mile after mile. So, again we looked at the map to see another way of going. Boy! Did we find one. First, we drove a little North of Omaha and found highway 92. We wanted to go thru some of the Sandhills of Nebraska where they have huge cattle ranches. We first discovered Stromsburg, NE that has a free RV park owned by the City. They are the Swede capital of Nebraska. An interesting town exactly what we try to find in our wandering around. We didn’t spend the night at their RV park because it was to early in the day; but, made note to remember for a future trip.

BOKEN BOW, NEBRASKA

We spent the night in Broken Bow, Nebraska at Tomahawk RV Park. Twenty dollars for full hook ups.  Broken Bow is another fun town to explore in Nebraska.

Here is a nice web page about Broken Bow… http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nebraska/broken-bow-ne/

THE SANDHILLS OF NEBRASKA

One of the highlights of our trip occurred on Highway 92 somewhere between Broken Bow and Arthur. We had to slow down because there were a lot of black angus coming down the highway. We chatted with the ranchers wife and they were moving 1,300 head (just a part of their herd) to their Summer pasture. This was to many to move by trailer. So, they moved them down the highway. Both sides had fences and there was very little traffic. They spread out over two miles and we saw maybe five vehicles driving by slowly like we were. All were being very courteous. We counted maybe seven cowboys/cowgirls. This was exciting for us big city people. Something we don’t see everyday. Would you believe have never seen?  There is a nice video on our Facebook page…

LARAMIE, WYOMING

We dropped down to Highway 30 which ran parallel with I-80 to the Wyoming State line. Then when Highway 30 ended, we travelled to Laramie, Wyoming on I-80. The only stretch we were on Interstate for this trip. Well… you caught me, we did have to travel I-80 a few miles at the end going from Fallon, NV to Reno. Ha ha.  You guys are tough.

We loved Laramie and stayed at a KOA for one night. Laramie is the home for the University of Wyoming. In February, Mick watched a young man win the Nebraska State Championship in wrestling at the 285 pound level who also received a scholarship from The University of Wyoming for football. We met his parents and…. what a nice family! The match was one of the most exciting we have witnessed. He was almost pinned, on his back, when he miraculously flipped the boy that was on top onto his back and won by a pin. In just a few seconds and all in one motion. There was a second or two of stunned silence before everyone erupted in cheering. It was one of those… “what did we just see” moments? We watched the video later and still wondered, how did he do that? This is the heavy weights we were watching. Patrick was on his back and somehow dug deep down and thought, this is my championship to win, and I’m about to lose! I’m not going to let that happen! Then he flipped a heavy weight wrestler (who had beaten him before) off and onto his back, in one stunning movement. We still get chills reliving it in our mind.  We are going to watch your career in football at Wyoming.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, COLORADO

Steamboat Springs is one of those must see locations. It’s a big ski area in the Winter, but we love it in the Summer. Our timing in getting there was perfect. There was a mountain pass between Laramie, WY and Steamboat Springs, CO. The weather was predicting a little snow in our area overnight and up to two feet in Provo, Utah. When we went thru the mountain pass the outside temp had dropped from 36 to 26 and was spitting snow. Nothing was sticking to the pavement and we got thru the pass and down the hill back to 36 weather.  Whooooo. We felt fortunate

VERNAL, UTAH

We were rolling along, and spent the night in Dinosaur land at Vernal, Utah. This KOA is fantastic and Vernal is another fantastic town.   We highly recommend and would return in a heart beat. The owner is very nice and made sure we had a clear sky to the South for our satellite and put us close to the showers. We have never had this fast a wifi. Great park! ! !

DELTA, UTAH

Lucky us. We are ahead of the bad snow hitting Wyoming and Colorado. Drove thru some mountain passes today from Vernal, Utah to Delta, Utah with high winds, snow flurries and big drop offs along the edge. Questioned our decision of leaving Vernal today, a few times. OK maybe more than a few times. We could have stayed another night. But now watching the Weather Channel, it looks like we might have made the right decision and are ahead of the snow. We hope to be in Fallon, NV tomorrow and much warmer climate.

FALLON, NV

Woke up with snow on the Sugar Shack. She’s use to sand from Arizona not that white fluffy stuff that’s cold…

We drove 400 miles today in 8 hours. That’s a little more than our usual of 250. We wanted to get out of the nightly lows around 30 with snow flurries. We are in Fallon, NV with a low tonight of 40 and high tomorrow of 75. That’s ideal! ! ! We will be staying in the Reno area until Tuesday. Yeaaaaaa…

Our 400 mile drive was on “The Loneliest Drive in America” Highway 50 in Nevada. We only saw 17 vehicles going West the entire 400 miles. That’s an average of one vehicle every 23 miles. We thought this was our private road built just for us…

RENO, NV

We stayed in Reno at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino RV Park, or GSR for short. Nice park but needs work and charges too high a price for a casino. We understand it’s not an Indian Casino; but, still…. We did like that it was about a mile North of the Reno Airport. We parked Sugar at the long term parking at the airport and we flew back to Phoenix for our grandson’s HS graduation and Mick’s Ophthalmologists appointment. We found out Mick will need cataract surgery this Fall. We have been told this was coming for the last ten years.  We have put it off as long as possible knowing that cataract surgery has made vast improvements.  We got that scheduled then drove our small car back to Reno. We picked up Sugar and got her out of jail at the airport long term parking lot and drove both vehicles up to South Lake Tahoe to our timeshare. We will be here for two weeks then a two week break and then back to Tahoe from June 30th to August 6th. Our plans are to spend most Summers in Tahoe because the vacation months are very crowded to RV. Over the last few years RV sales have sky rocketed and there are many more RV’s on the road and not that many new RV parks. We will stay in Tahoe and enjoy the cool mountain air during the heavy vacation season then hit the road again in August…

A view from above a rainbow from our window at The Ridge at Lake Tahoe.

FIFTEEN REASONS WE LOVE OUR CLASS “B”

1. Easy to drive. It is just like driving a van. Ooops, it is a van!

2. Go anywhere. We have been on Highways with length restrictions. We just laugh. We do not worry about length restrictions. Highways with restrictions are normally the more beautiful drives. As an example, The Pacific Coast Highway which is Highway 1 that runs along the beautiful California coast, has areas that restrict all vehicles to less than 30 feet. We are 20 feet long. Yes! We have no problem driving the PCH! ! !

3. Park anywhere: fast food, restaurants, movie theaters, grocery store, etc…. We do park further to the back of a lot. We don’t want any dings on our cute little baby.

4. Quick setup in a RV park. We only plug in the 30 Amp electric cord. If you have enough solar, you do not have to even do that. We change her diaper and give her a new bottle about once a week. That’s what we call dumping and filling the fresh water tank.

5. Quick leaving a RV park. One unplugs the electric cord while the other checks the inside to make sure everything is put up and all cabinets are latched and locked.

The next four are when we have an RV park and have gone sight seeing for the day.  We are in our van instead of a tow vehicle or the pickup that tows a fifth wheel.

6. We always have our bathroom with us. More important for women than men. This could be listed as number one. We always have our own toilet with us to use whenever and wherever. Sometimes it’s hard to find a bathroom and sometimes when you do find one… it is yucky.

7. Always have our kitchen with us. We can and do… pull over and make breakfast, lunch or dinner whenever and wherever.

8. Always have our wardrobe with us. It can turn cold or warmer than you expected. We can change our wardrobe anytime we want. Have you ever wished you had brought a coat? Spilled something on your clothes? Found you were over dressed or underdressed? Bada-boom Bada-bing… our wardrobe is with us!

9. Always have our bed with us. Have you ever wanted to take a nap? To tired to keep driving? We always have our bed or our reclining chair with us. Many times, we have stopped in a parking lot, made lunch and took a nap.

10. Cheaper in RV parks. We frequently only pay for electric. Do not need full hookups.

11. Ferry boats and toll gates are cheaper. We only took her on one ferry boat ride but our cost was $20. A fifth wheel owner said he paid $120.

12. Quick and easy to clean. We wash her in the self clean quarter car washes. We have a quick routine. Mick uses the brush and then the wand. When Mick finishes he pulls into the shade and Chick starts drying the outside with two rags while Mick cleans all the window glass. We finish about the same time and off we go…

13. Better MPG. Whatever van you have, gas or diesel, it will be better than a Class A, C or fiver. We get 16 to 21 and are normally around 18 MPG.

14. Easier to stealth boondock (dry camp). After all, we look like a van not a motorhome.

15. Quieter driving down the road. Most true class B vans are quieter than an A, C or fifth. Ours is two and a half years old with over 30,000 miles and it is still very tight and quiet. No rattles or squeaks. Noise is very common in units built on a separate box rather than built inside the original van body. –Mick & Chick

Mick and Chick write a blog about their travels in a Class B, mixing in a few timeshares and a cruise or two. You can follow them on Facebook under: ROW With Mick And Chick. Go to their FB page and “Like” it to receive notices when they post another blog. Please share this blog with your family and friends…

WE ARE… ON THE ROAD AGAIN…

Goin’ places that we’ve never been
Seein’ things that we may never see again
And we can’t wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turning our way

And our way, is on the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life we love is making music with our friends
And we can’t wait to get on the road again

 

Last year, was a change of life year for Mick and Chick. We went from the responsibility of running a business to a blank slate. From office rent, expenses, payroll, supplies, daily schedule, production, customer service to… not getting up until you finally wake on your own without an alarm.

After we closed our LLC by signing the dissolution papers, we had a general idea of what we wanted to do after we retired. We don’t think this will be a surprise to you, but it was to travel. We retired on May 1st and left Phoenix for our “retirement Cruise” on May 2nd. After the cruise we left in our motorhome going to Tahoe, then over to Southern California. We headed North up the PCH on Highway 1 thru California, then the 101 thru Oregon and Washington. We traveled to the NW point of the U.S. then across the top of Washington on Highway 20. Thru Idaho, down to Yellowstone, over to South Dakota then down to our daughters home in Omaha. We drove thru the Midwest and slowly drifted back to Phoenix by Election Day in November.

You can read all the details in our blog.

Last year we had plans, places to go and things to see. We drove thru parts of the country that we have wanted to see for quite awhile in our little van on steroids.

Now, we are looking at this year and Act II. We have decided Phoenix and Las Vegas are wonderful places to spend the Winter. Without counting the days… we have probably spent more nights in Vegas since last November than we stayed at home in Phoenix. We have been back and forth numerous times. We love college football and bet on all the Bowl games, the National Title Game and then back to Vegas again for the Super Bowl (with our friends, Bill and Doris).

The people in this photo taken in Laughlin are from left to right: Harold, Ronnie, Mick, Chick, Sharon and Leta.

Photo taken from camp sight in Bullhead City, AZ.

Chick has two cousins that have been in AZ and CA for the Winter. We caught up with them for a week in Bullhead City and a few days in Sedona.  Next we are off to North Padre Island in Texas and who knows where from there? ? ?

Our only set plans are our grandson’s graduation the end of May and then Tahoe in June and July.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN, Goin’ places that we’ve never been, Seein’ things that we may never see again, And we can’t wait to be goin down the highway…….

INSURANCE PART TWO

This is our second post of our two blogs that we promised about insurance. It is designed for you to read the portions that interest you. Do you understand all your insurance coverages on your RV or vehicle policy? Skip down and read the coverages that are confusing for you. We know you will not read this entire blog. It’s way to long and boring to read every page. Unless you are having trouble sleeping at night. Then you can dig this post out and read until sleepy. Should only take a few minutes. LOL

If you haven’t read our post titled Insurance Part One, it’s a “must read”.  Should be read before Part Two.  (If you believe that we have a bridge we want to sell you.)  LOL…  Part One has a lot of info about the mistakes we see people saying online.  It gives you a really good insider view about insurance that will help you when buying and/or talking with a sales rep for any insurance company.  Scroll down thru the travel post until you find it.

We will not do another post about insurance unless something comes up that would cause a need to make a third post. Like if we are reminded how we forgot something important. We hope not, because we really want to blog about our travels and want you to read our blogs and hope you look forward to them. Tell your friends about our travel blog and our Facebook posts which is also under the name “ROW With Mick and Chick”. In Facebook, you can search under “Mick and Chick” and it will direct you to our FB page titled, “ROW With Mick And Chick”. If you “Like” our FB page then you will see our post every time we do another blog post.

We also realize that we are still licensed but no longer active in the insurance business (as of May 1, 2016) and not staying up to date with the changes in the industry. However with our 45 years experience… we did learn a few things that hopefully we can pass on to you and help you understand a little more than what you knew before reading these two blogs. The basics about insurance has never changed. So once you know the basics, you will be able to discuss your insurance needs with any agent, agency or insurance company. We hope you will come back to these posts and reread portions when you have a future need.

We also want to post a disclaimer. We are not responsible if the State you live in or have an accident in does not follow what we say in these two posts. The laws are different in every State. We try to point out the areas that you need to look at so you know where to study your State law. Also, every insurance company has little changes in their policies. Plus, some companies do things a little different in the claim settlements. Please, do your own “due diligence” and be responsible and verify everything we say with your own insurance company/agency/agent. This post is designed to pass on general information that will get you to think things thru. We do not know all 50 State’s laws and do not pretend to know and in fact, do not want to know. We do not know every insurance company. When you own an insurance agency, you learn the policies for the companies you represent. In this post we are attempting to give you information that applies to all casualty insurance policies. Big difference. This is general info, and… you need to verify because we are not selling insurance in this post. Hopefully that takes care of the legal part. We do not want to try to help people and then have someone sue us by claiming that we misled them. Please, please verify with your company or with your insurance advisor.

ARE YOU FULL-TIME OR PART-TIME

This was mentioned in our first post on insurance but believe it is important enough to repeat. Not every company will insure a full-time RV’er. One of the main reason is there are way more part-timers and insurance companies have their premiums set for those people. If you still own a home and only drive your RV for a vacation or two plus a few weekends then the companies know their exposure is not as great as someone who lives in their unit full-time. They only charge an annual premium for what would normally be a six month premium. These clients will also need to insure their home, two cars or more, maybe a motorcycle, quads, boat, etc… More policies for the company to sell. Where a full-timer might have a toad vehicle and little to none of the other items to insure. Plus a lot more exposure on the RV. And the RV will be traveling throughout the U.S. and not basically stay in one State. When a claim occurs in a State that the insurance company does not have a claims force then they have to hire an independent adjuster, creating more expense. These companies think full-timers are a small percentage and not enough for them to design a policy. We think they are missing the trend in the RV industry and will eventually have to offer coverage for full-timers. The number of full-timers is increasing daily. But, lucky for you there are companies that want your business and specialize in full-timers. Make sure you let them know if you are a full-timer. You don’t want a surprise if you have a claim.

ADVANTAGES TO BEING FULL-TIME

Probably the biggest advantage is you can set up your residency in any State and City you wish. You can shop different States for taxes, cost of insurance, cost to plate your RV, etc… For the lowest premium for insurance on your RV, you want to set up in a small town in a State that does not have catastrophic storms. Stay away from States that have hurricanes, stay away from States in tornado alley, stay away from States famous for hail storms, etc… The States that have catastrophic storms have higher insurance premiums to cover the cost of those claims. They spread the storm cost to everyone in the State. You want a small town because small towns have less congestion and lower premiums than heavily congested big cities. Big cities have way more accidents per capita, more vandalism, more theft. Small towns have less accidents, less crime and much lower premiums. Let me give you a challenge. Get a quote and give them your residence address in Deadwood, South Dakota. Then get a quote using an address in downtown Chicago. You will be amazed at the difference. A rural farm community could be even lower. Farmers rarely have a claim and their premiums reflect that fact. You lucky full-timers can set up residence anywhere. Lucky you! ! !

MAKE SURE THEY HAVE YOU LISTED AS AN RV

This sounds dumb but is more important in motorhomes than travel trailers or fifth wheels. The VIN doesn’t always tell the insurance company that it is not a panel van but instead a motorhome. Our personal RV is a Class B Roadtrek built on a Chevy Express. The VIN just shows our vehicle is a Chevy Express panel van. If we didn’t correct this and make sure the company knows the true value, we could have a big problem. If we had a claim we would have a nightmare settling the value. The difference is from 20,000 to about 90,000. If your agency is local, take your vehicle to them so they can see what you have. Bring the paperwork showing the value and what you paid. Make sure they insure your unit correctly. If they have never camped and have zero experience with RV’s they just might not know how to insure your unit. The problem might not be the insurance company but instead the person you are talking with at the local agency. They might not be giving you the discounts you deserve or the endorsements you need or have the value correctly listed.

Also RV’s receive some special endorsements like vacation expense coverage. They also receive a lower premium knowing that it is not a daily driver (read the above about full-time).

Let’s go over the basic coverages for your RV.

 

LIABILITY INSURANCE

What is liability insurance? When will it pay? What does it pay? How much do you need?

WHAT IS LIABILITY INSURANCE?

In the States that do not have no-fault insurance then liability insurance will pay up to the limits of insurance you buy for the repair of other people’s property and/or other people’s injuries if you can be held liable and do something negligent in an accident. The secret is, who was negligent? Who did something that causes them to be at fault and can be held liable? Receiving a ticket does not necessarily mean you are liable. You might receive a ticket because you did something against a local ordinance. The fact that an officer says you deserve a ticket does not mean that the officer is making a decision about who has to pay for the repairs or injury for the other party. You might beat the ticket in court. Sometimes the ticketed person is also liable. Sometimes they are partially liable and sometimes they are not at all liable. As an example, we had a lady who was driving on snow and slid thru a stop sign and broadsided another vehicle injuring passengers and a lot of vehicle damage. We paid thousands of dollars settling the claim. She called later and was upset that she was being charged for an at-fault accident. We asked her why she thought it was not her fault? She said because the cop didn’t give her a ticket. We are not going to explain this here and hope everyone reading understands why she was at fault. We hope this explains what we were saying about the ticket does not necessarily reflect as to who is at fault.

NO FAULT INSURANCE

No fault insurance comes in many different hybrid types of policies. A pure no-fault would mean that each person would pay for their own damages in an accident and no one would be responsible for the other party. Does any State sell pure no-fault? We do not know that answer. Every State we have heard is a hybrid no-fault and only sells no-fault up to a limit and then all damages above that limit are charged back to the party at fault. We know one State’s no-fault limit is $2,000. Which means all damages and injuries under 2000 are paid by your own insurance and not the party at fault. Is no-fault good or bad? There are a lot of different opinions. We personally do not care for no-fault. We believe the party at fault should always pay for the damage and injuries of the party not at fault. The cost of liability does go down in the States that have no-fault. That sounds good, right? But, common sense tells us that it goes down because some of the accidents are now covered under the party’s own insurance but under a different coverage than liability. So, a little less is paid out of the liability coverage and it can go down but now you have to buy an additional coverage mandated by law that will cover you and everyone in your vehicle up to what the State set the limits for their no-fault. As an example… the State we mentioned earlier was no-fault up to 2,000 now mandates you buy no-fault coverage to cover claims up to that no-fault limit. So, in that State the cost for liability goes down because liability no longer covers any claim until they go over 2,000. But, you now have to buy the no-fault coverage and the cost for the no-fault is more than the savings on the liability. Go figure? ? ? They get no-fault voted in because they run ads saying the cost of liability will go down with no-fault. Yes, that is true. They are not lying, They are just not telling you everything. Under no-fault they are paying for the accident under two different coverages instead of one. The total paid out is the same. The cost of the accident has not changed.

This is where our disclaimer can be applied. If you live in a State that has no-fault, then you need to apply this general info with your knowledge about your State’s hybrid requirements. As we said earlier, we do not know the law in all 50 States and each State that has no-fault is completely different.

WHEN AND WHAT WILL LIABILITY PAY?

Insurance companies do not spell out the types of accidents that they will pay. They instead will pay if the courts can or would hold you liable because you did something negligent and can be held responsible. So, you buy liability to protect your assets from someone else because you can be held responsible for their repairs or injuries and do not want to lose your assets over an accident.

Some States say we are held liable according to the percentage we are at fault in the accident. In these States an accident can be ruled 100%/0%, 90%/10%, 80%/20%, 60%/40%, 50%/50% or any combination imaginable. So, if we have an accident in a State that has percentage settlements and it is ruled that you are 80% at fault and the other party is 20% at fault. Then you and/or your insurance company owe 80% of the other people’s damage and injuries and the other people and/or their insurance company owe you 20% of your damage and injuries.

Some States say if we are over 51% then we are 100%. In those Stats you are either at-fault or not at-fault As we travel thru the U.S., we are not going to know how the liability works in each State. We do not study the laws about liability before we drive thru a State. We just make sure we have enough liability insurance to cover the damages and injuries that we could be responsible for paying because we want to protect our assets that we have accumulated. The State law where you have the accident trumps the State law where you bought the insurance. In other words, your insurance policy will pay if you are held liable according to what the law says in the State where you had the accident. So, if we live in South Dakota and bought our insurance there and we have an accident in Nebraska. Then our South Dakota policy will pay if we are liable up to the limits purchased according to what the Nebraska law says we are liable.

One of the most important things to remember is, your liability insurance will not pay above the limits that you select to buy. It will only pay, if you are liable, up to the limits that you bought. Not above those limits. So, the next important question is…

HOW MUCH LIABILITY INSURANCE DO YOU NEED?

There is no way we can really answer that question. We can only give you some general guide lines. The more you have accumulated in life, the higher your assets, the higher your net worth has become… the more liability you need to purchase. And the reverse is also true. If you do not own anything and have 0 in assets, you could buy the lower limits of liability. If you sold everything you own what is left is your net worth. On a balance sheet, if you list your assets and your liabilities; your net worth is what is left after subtracting your liabilities from your assets. You need to list everything that you own. What if your house is worth 300,000 and you still owe 200,000. Then you have a net worth of 100,000 from your home. You have a 100,000 equity in your home. How about your 401K. How much equity do you have in it? As an example… If you have a total net worth of 100,000. Then you want to protect that net worth because it took you a few years to accumulate that amount. Buying a liability policy that will pay up to 100,000 for a claim might not be enough. Where this becomes tricky is… you do not buy dollar for dollar to protect your assets. As an example… If you are at fault and someone has property damage and injuries that they can claim against you for 150,000. Then your insurance company could pay up to the 100,000 that you bought in liability insurance and the judge can rule that you now owe the additional 50,000 from your net worth. We do not know what kind of accident we will have. So, you are better to be safe than sorry and buy the higher limits. More than you think you need. I can tell you some tragic stories of people who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up injuring people very seriously… all in the blink of an eye.

SPLIT LIMITS vs SINGLE LIMITS LIABILITY

The most common liability limits sold are called split limits and the most common split limits are; 15/30/10, 25/50/25, 50/100/50, 100/300/100 and 250/500/250. Some companies do not sell split limits and instead sell what is called single limits. The most common single limits are; 50,000, 100,000, 250,000, 300,000, 500,000 and 1,000,000. Do you know what the split limits mean? The first and the second number are for bodily injury and the third number is for property damage. If you have bought the 100/300/100 limit then if you are held liable in an accident, your policy can pay up to 100,000 for any one person’s injuries and up to 300,000 total for all injuries in any one occurrence. So the max that your insurance company can pay for all people that are injured in an accident that you can be held responsible would be 300,000 and no one person can receive over 100,000. Then in addition to how much is paid for bodily injury, your policy can pay up to 100,000 for all property damage. That could be other vehicles, guard rails, street lights, bridge abutments, front porches, fences, etc…. So, that sounds pretty good right? It can pay up to 100,000 for any one person’s injuries and up to 300,000 in total injuries and up to 100,000 in property damage. But, lets look at it another way. How much does it cost if you are in the hospital emergency room for 4 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours? Of course we can’t answer that because we do not know what is wrong and what they have to do for you. But, it could be 25,000, 50,000, 75,000? ? ? I know of a head on collision where the 67 year old male was in the hospital 30 days and then died. What was his hospital bills? If you were at fault in that accident and your net worth was 100,000 and you carried 100/300/100 limits, are you going to lose your net worth? You might. This is why agents frequently recommend to clients that have a higher net worth to buy limits of 250/500/250 and then an umbrella policy on top of that.

The advantage to the consumer for buying the split limits over the single limits is no one person’s injuries could use up all the liability leaving nothing for anyone else that is injured or for property damage. Let’s say someone has an accident with another vehicle that has four people as passengers. One dies at the scene and three are hospitalized. Let’s assume the person at fault had a 500,000 single limit liability policy. That 500,000 is there to pay injuries and property damage. The family of the deceased passenger can claim quicker because the injured people do not know the extent of their claim for months, until they are healed. Let’s say the family of the deceased is a wife who does not work outside the home and three small children. It would be easy for them to show the loss of the father’s future wages is worth more than the policy limit. They could claim the entire 500,000. This would leave nothing for the other injured people. However, the single limit would work better, if only one person is injured or dies. They then could claim it all and not be limited to the first number of the split limit. If you buy a split limit liability with an umbrella on top, then you have both worlds. Because the umbrella is a single limit that kicks in after the split limit basic auto policy is used first.

PERSONAL UMBRELLA LIABILITY POLICY

Why a Personal umbrella? Because it will kick in after the auto policy’s liability has been used and pay up to an additional one million dollars. That is if it is a regular umbrella and not an excess umbrella. The regular umbrella will pay up to an additional one million and the excess pays the difference after the auto limits pay up to a total of one million. Let’s say you carry 250/500/250 and only one person is injured plus they have property damage of 50,000. The auto can pay up to 300,000 (250,000 for the injuries and 50,000 for property damage) and then an umbrella can pay up to an additional 1,000,000 for a total of 1,300,000. Now if your umbrella was an excess umbrella then after the auto paid the 300,000, the umbrella would pay another 700,000 to bring the total to one million. Big difference.

The umbrella policy is a secondary policy and the auto liability policy is primary. The auto pays first. For that reason the insurance company that sells you the umbrella policy requires you to buy a minimum amount of liability on your auto policy. The most common required today is 250/500/250.

The Personal Umbrella policy normally covers you for more than just your auto claims. It normally will extend the additional coverage to your auto, home cycle, boat, RV and will cover some items that there is not a basic liability policy. A good example could be coverage for “personal injury”. Personal injury means someone’s feeling were hurt because of something you said. A good example would be slander. If you had a court settlement against you for slandering someone. Most insurance companies’ Personal Umbrella policies would pay and there is no basic policy to be primary because personal injury is not covered in any policy other than an umbrella. In this case the umbrella becomes Primary. We are being very careful in our wording about Personal Umbrellas because every company sells something different in their policy. Not all umbrellas will cover personal injury. They extend coverage differently with different basic requirements. Some even have a deductible between the primary and secondary coverage called a “self retained limit”. The most common we have seen is 10,000. So, after the primary auto policy pays and before the umbrella kicks in, you have to pay 10,000. A lot of insurance companies do not have that self retained limit and you should find one that does not. That is like a big fat deductible hitting you when you are not expecting it. Some companies require you to insure all the basic policies with them in order to extend the Umbrella and some will surcharge you additional premium if you do not. Again, do your “do diligence”. It’s your responsibility to check with your company. We are just giving you basic info hoping it helps you think about something you might have forgot or didn’t know.

Most companies will sell their Personal umbrella with coverages of one, two, three, four or five million. We had a client who had a net worth of one million and he bought a five million dollar umbrella. He said he felt like he needed the five million to protect his one million. Good point. Lawyers tend to go after someone who has money for them to get (they are not going to spend the time and expense to go after someone who has no assets, why get a judgement if there is no money to cover the judgement). To give you an idea about the additional premium for higher limits for an umbrella. It normally cost around 65% additional premium to increase your one million policy to a two million policy. If you have a net worth of 250,00 or more, you should think of a two million dollar umbrella. Some of these big RV’s can do a lot of damage. What if a bus full of passengers was passing you or you are passing them and you slide into their lane? A claim like that could cost millions. You might have to take a bankruptcy. Think about the amount of liability you carry. Is it enough?

One more important fact about the Personal Umbrellas. We hope you noticed, we did not mention rental property as one of the items the Umbrella would cover. That is because most companies (not all) say rental properties need a Commercial Umbrella not a Personal. There is a big difference between a Personal and a Commercial Umbrella policy. We are not going into Commercial insurance with this blog. We have thought about starting a company helping small to medium size businesses that do not have a risk manager as an advisor. Helping them with their commercial insurance. We have some thoughts about how to save money on commercial policies. Maybe this could be the reason we will need to do a third blog about insurance? Let’s see if there is a need to do a blog about commercial insurance? We could talk about forming an LLC and why. How easy is it to do yourself? Should you form an LLC or a Corporation? What’s the difference between the two? What if you own three rental properties. Should you form one LLC or three? … and why? Commercial insurance does not have a set premium. It can be credited or debited. How can you get more credits on your business policy? This is some food for thought. Let me know if you want to discuss Commercial Insurance?
UM, UIM & MEDICAL INSURANCE

UM INSURANCE

Uninsured Motorist insurance is a very important coverage. UM is the first two parts of Liability only in reverse. If you carry 100/300/100 Liability then you are allowed to carry up to 100/300 in UM & UIM coverage. Remember what the first two numbers are in Liability? Up to 100,000 per person and up to 300,000 all people put together in one occurrence. The UM says they will pay up to 100,000 per person for you and your passengers in your vehicle if the other party is at fault and they do not have insurance. If they are uninsured. And, up to 300,000 for all people put together in your vehicle per any one occurrence.

UIM INSURANCE

Underinsured Motorist insurance will pay toward the people injured in your vehicle if the party at-fault had insurance but not enough. If the at fault individual has insurance then the UM will not pay. But, if they have insurance and it is not enough, then your UIM will kick in and pay secondary after the at fault insured’s liability pays up to the 100/300 limit.

UM & UIM are important because you do not know, if you have an accident, whether the other party has insurance or what limits they carry. With these two coverages you do not have to worry.

Most company’s UM & UIM will also cover you in other vehicles when you are a passenger with a few exceptions. You need to read the list of exclusions. Some of the exclusions state they will not cover you for UM & UIM if the vehicle you are riding in is a taxi, bus, airplane, ambulance, etc… There are exclusion and we have not listed them all but UM & UIM normally will cover you in most private passenger vehicles when riding as a passenger. Of course an Uber car is the same as a taxi.

Let’s say you are riding with moi in my car and someone blows thru a stop sign and broadsides our car. If the at fault driver does not have insurance then my UM will cover us both and then if you also have UM on your own private vehicle, your UM would also cover you as secondary. If the at fault driver does have insurance but it is not enough. Then his liability pays primary, then my UIM pays secondary and then you would also be covered by your UIM after his liability and my UIM.

Some people do not understand the many ways their UM & UIM coverage can pay. This is what personal injury attorneys look for when they take a claim. Many times they pick up 30% of your coverage for turning in a claim for you under UM or UIM and that is money you would have received anyway if you had turned in the claim. It’s easy money for them. They look like a hero when you would have had the full amount if you just understood your own insurance policy and turned in the claim.

MEDICAL INSURANCE

Who has to be at fault when someone is injured in your vehicle for your Medical insurance to pay? No one. Medical will pay whether you are at fault or not. Medical is similar to your health insurance. It pays if someone is hurt in your vehicle. It covers you and any passenger in your vehicle. Many people carry enough Medical to cover their deductible on their health insurance. Now that it is common for a health policy to have a 5,000 deductible, then 5,000 coverage on your auto Medical coverage is becoming more popular. Not every insurance company will pay under medical if there is coverage somewhere else. Check with your company. Oops there is another “do diligence” for you to do.

COMPREHENSIVE & COLLISION

Comp and Collision coverage are the only two coverages that protect your vehicle. Other coverages cover injuries to others or in reverse to you are your passengers or even medical coverage. Finally, we are talking about coverage for your vehicle.

COMPREHENSIVE

Comp, as it it normally called, covers the damage to your RV that is normally covered by auto insurance, that is not a collision. Examples would be: fire, theft, wind, vandalism, glass breakage, hail damage, hitting an animal, hitting a bouncing boulder (you know… where they have those signs… watch for falling rocks – LOL). Since we mentioned the bouncing rock or boulder, did you know? If it is bouncing it is covered under Comp. If it is sitting on the highway it is covered under Collision. The same as if you hit a wall. If you hit any animal like a deer, elk, etc…; that is normally covered under Comp.

FULL GLASS BREAKAGE

FGB is only available in a few States. Under this coverage; if you have a glass claim, they will lower your Comp deductible to zero. With this coverage any glass claim is paid in full. All other Comp claims are paid after your Comp deductible. Arizona is one of the few States that sells FGB. We assume it is because of the desert and the many little rocks kicked up from the highway causing windshield chips and breakage. FGB is wonderful if you have one of those huge windshields that are on some motorhomes. Even without FGB, most insurance companies will waive the deductible and pay the total cost if you can repair the chip in the windshield. This has to be done before it gets to big and spreads. After it spreads then you have to replace the windshield and you have to pay your Comp deductible unless you are one of the lucky ones and have FGB. So, if you have a large windshield on a motorhome, it could be important to get those chips repaired quickly before they spread and the windshield has to be replaced.

COLLISION

This coverage pays for your vehicle if you are in a collision of any kind. It could be with another vehicle, with a tree, with a wall, a front porch, you get the idea. Collision pays if you are at fault or not. Now why would you want to claim against your own insurance company if your are involved with another vehicle and they are at fault? This happens quite frequently. Normally because the other company is giving you a hard time. Or the person at fault Is trying to pay it out of their pocket and telling you what body shop to take your vehicle. Or, their cousin Vinny does body work in their back yard. That’s a big no no.

If the other person is at fault, it is to your best interest to let their insurance company pay for the repairs on your vehicle. Why? Because they will pay in full with no deductible, they will also pay for a rental vehicle while your car is being repaired. But, if they give you a hassle, then by all means let your own Collision coverage pay for your vehicle. Once your insurance company has money invested in repairing your vehicle then they have the right to subrogate back against the party at fault. They will get their money back and also get your deductible back. You might be out your deductible for a few months or even a year or two. But, you will get it back and not have the hassle. Always try the other company first and if there is a problem then call your own company back. Believe it or not, we had to do that in an accident where we were rear ended. We couldn’t believe the hassle the other insurance company gave us. They said we were 75% at fault. We claimed against our collision coverage and had our deductible back in full in just two months with a ruling that we were 0% at fault.

This is where a good agent is worth their weight in gold. They can give you fantastic advice and help you in many ways. One way they CAN NOT help is to call the other company and talk for you. This would be representing you like an attorney and a big no no. That’s not allowed since we do not have a JD degree and passed the bar exam. But, once your company has money invested then they have a legal right to go after the other company. Does this make sense to you? Over the years we have had clients get very upset because they wanted us to call the other company and demand that company fix their car. We could not do that. That is what attorneys do. Accidents can be very stressful. Take a few deep breaths and a time out if necessary. Your agent is there to help you and has seen a lot and has some great advice. Don’t take a bat and start swing at people on your team. Give them a chance… they can help. Most of the larger insurance companies have 800 numbers where you can report a claim. These are great and get the wheels rolling faster. But, if you have any questions after talking with the 800 people, always call you agency and discuss it with them. They are like gold when you need them.

Always take your vehicle to where you want to get it fixed. If they want to give you some suggestions and they sound good to you, then by all means take their advice. But, never let them demand where you have to fix your car. Most insurance companies have specially approved body shops and will give you their list and suggest you try one of their approved shops. If you pick one of their shops some companies will give you a written guarantee directly from the insurance company. This is good and acceptable. But, you do not have to go this route unless you want. One thing we always cautioned our clients about is demanding their vehicle be repaired by their dealer’s body shop. A lot of dealers have great shops. But, a lot of dealers do not. Do you know whether their shop is top notch or not? Normally if you know of a body shop that has been in business for 20 years and has a great reputation, that is where you should go. Everyone can get your parts for your vehicle, not just the dealer. The dealer’s shop might have a lot of young boys learning the body shop trade. Where the long time shop owner might have the best repair people in the business. We also know of some dealers that have great body shops with many years of experience. This is why we suggest you look at and consider the insurance companies list of approved shops. Who knows body shops better than adjusters that deal with them every day? What you really want is the best body shop and that might or might not be the dealership where you bought your car.

Something else to think about is “after market” parts. Don’t fall for the line that they are inferior. Some after market have better guarantees and are better parts. Where do you buy batteries or tires? Those are all after market parts. What the after market parts industry accomplished was bringing down the exorbitant prices that use to be on sheet metal parts. We remember when after market parts first came out about 30 years ago. At that time a new fender would cost around 350 and the after market fender was 90. The original fender then came down to 125. They were gouging their prices and this was inviting someone else to manufacture and sell the after market parts. The original market parts caused their own problem. If they had not been over charging and gouging customers with ridiculous prices the after market business would not exist today. Now they have advertising campaigns trying to convince you the original parts are better. Don’t be afraid of after market. Most are better quality. Also, don’t be afraid of a used fender. Once it is painted it is as good as new. After all, your fender was not new when it was damaged. Sometimes, we get hung up over the dumbest of things that are not worth your time or effort. There are more important things to worry about than after market or used sheet metal. How about the people in the accident. Make sure they are ok. That they heal ok and are emotionally ok. Some people carry the scars from an accident for many years. Help them get back to normal. After 45 years we have seen so many horrible stories. This is what is important and what you need to work on and put your energy toward after an accident.

REPLACEMENT COST

Some companies offer Replacement Cost instead of Actual Cash Value for your RV in case it is totaled. This is a very important coverage. Each company that offers this is a little different in their wording. So question them and find out exactly what they offer. Normally it is only offered for the first two to five years when your RV is new. So, in the year 2017; if your motorhome is a 2015 model and is totaled, they will offer to replace it with a 2017 model. They will replace your unit with a brand new unit (2017) and not pay you for the value your unit is now worth (Actual Cash Value for a 2015). If you buy this coverage your unit is covered by RC until it is two to five years old and then covered by ACV which is the normal coverage for all vehicles. Few companies sell this coverage. We like it and think it is worth looking for a company that does.

ERS, RENTAL REIMBURSEMENT/VACATION EXPENSE

ERS

Emergency Road Service can be very important for an RV. There are a few companies that specialize in RV ERS coverage. Make sure they know what type of RV you own and ask if their coverage will or can tow your RV. We have heard some bad stories from people who bought ERS from a company that is famous for selling this coverage for cars and would not send a tow truck because they could not tow their RV. You want to verify before a claim, not find out when you need them…

RENTAL REIMBURSEMENT/VACATION EXPENSE

A very important coverage for an RV. Always verify from your company exactly what is covered. Will they put you in a motel while the RV is being repaired? For How long? Are you a full-time or part-time RV’er? Do they know? Make sure they do know and that their coverage will pay. Save you from a surprise later.

CONTENTS COVERAGE FOR RV

If you have a homeowners on your main home then your contents will extend from your home to cover you anywhere. Right? Nope, there is one huge exception, it will not extend to another home owned by you. An RV is considered a second home. So, make sure you add contents coverage to your RV policy. If it is not there then they might not be giving you an RV policy.

Another important consideration… do you have equipment you use in a business. All business equipment needs to be covered in a commercial policy. Again as we stated earlier, we are not covering business insurance in this blog (could do a third blog). But just one note. If you are running a business out of your RV then you should form an LLC and buy a CGL (liability) and add property coverages to cover your equipment. A lot of people are making a living in their RV while traveling around the country. Most of the time it is something they are doing online. If you sell your items at a booth at art shows in different towns and cities, they will ask for a certificate of insurance for your business. If you have bought insurance on your business you can have your insurance company fax a cert to the party wanting the certificate. OOPS, we’er talking commercial insurance again. Sorry… just might have to do that third blog on commercial insurance. Hmmmm….

That’s it. If you read this far then you have finished our second post on insurance and probably snoozed thru half of it. This was our second of two. Let us know what you think. Did you learn anything? We certainly hope so. Did we make it simple to understand? Ninth-nine percent of this will also apply to your personal car insurance. Where else can you find this info in easy to understand language? Please, tell your friends to go to our blog and our Facebook Page…

CYA DOWN THE ROAD IN OUR NEXT TRAVEL BLOG… -Mick and Chick

HAPPY NEW YEAR-OUR REVIEW OF 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR -OUR REVIEW OF 2016

YOU ARE ‘16 GOING ON ‘17
You are sixteen going on seventeen
Baby it’s time to think
Better beware be canny and careful
Baby you’re on the Brink

You are sixteen going on seventeen
Fellows will fall in line
Eager young lads and rogues and cads
Will offer you food and wine

You need someone older and wiser
Telling you what to do
I am seventeen going on eighteen
I’ll take care of you

Remember this song, from the Sound of Music? I guess we should say, “we are 2016 going on 2017.”

Our New Years Day Brunch

REVIEW OF 2016

Knowing retirement would be the start of a brand new life we wanted to break away from our career of 45 years and start something new that would keep us active and enthused and young at heart. Looking forward with excitement and not looking backward. We are very happy with our career and what we accomplished but would rather look through the front windshield and not the rearview mirrors. Our future is bigger and better than the past.  Or… at least, we hope so. We have made the break from our old life of running a business and have jumped into our new life with both feet (and… with a little fear). We have to admit… we are loving this new life we have created with a mixture of three different ways of traveling. Reviewing 2016 and looking back over our first eight months of retirement, we have done exactly what our plans were to do. We wrote about our way of retiring in an earlier blog but wanted to reinforce some of it again. Probably saying it a little different.

Retiring a few years later than the normal retirement age we gave a lot of thought to how we wanted to spend our time in the “November” of our life. Mick was 72 and Chick was 68. Looking at others we knew who had retired, they fell into two groups. Those that were active and those that were not. Knowing how active we were before retiring, we decided to come up with something that would keep us from getting older or even worse… acting older. Our goal was to make sure we didn’t change to a sluggish life style of TV, reading our iPad, Kindle and sitting in a recliner all day. That is what happens when you decide to do nothing but eat, sleep and sit in front of a TV. Next you will need a walker because of all the inactivity. Both our parents had long retirements and they both had brothers/sisters, aunts, uncles and friends that we got to watch and see the active and non-active life style. Of course… all this depends on us staying in good health. We hope, the activity will help with that also.

As we looked back through our life and considered and thought about all of the things that interested us. The one thing that both of us really liked and really enjoyed to do together… was travel. So, after a lot of thought we narrowed it down to three types of traveling we wanted to do after retiring.

Our love for traveling included: cruising the oceans blue, our Class B, Roadtrek motorhome and mixing in a few timeshares.

CRUISING THE OCEANS BLUE

Love cruising because we love being on the water, the smell of the sea, the ports. In fact everything about going on a cruise. Mick and Chick have traveled on more than 15 cruises and plan to do one or two every year. We have cruised to Alaska, numerous islands in the Caribbean, the Mexican Rivera, Hawaii, the Mediterranean, New England, Halifax, St John and different repositioning cruises. Our next cruise we have booked will be a two week repositioning cruise going thru the Panama Canal in January, 2018.

Chick on cruise in Hawaii

CLASS B ROADTREK

Our next love of travel is our motorhome we bought it in August, 2014. Wanting to learn and adjust to this new life two years before retiring. Having studied Class A’s, B’s, C’s, fifth wheels and travel trailers, we decided the Class B was best for us because of the advantages that it offers. Small in size. Able to travel anywhere a car can go. Able to boon dock with stealth ability. But, still have all the advantages of a Class A. Like a large bed, bath and shower. A kitchen with two burner stove, microwave and refrigerator. Two front chairs that turn around. A satellite antenna for TV, an awning and an Onan generator. A/C, heat, black tank, grey tank and a fresh water tank.

We love stopping wherever and whenever we want and fixing a lunch and/or taking a nap. Things you can’t do when traveling in a car. We love not having to plan ahead on where we can stop for the next bathroom, we have one with us. Our RV is fully self contained. When we pull into an RV park, we only plug in the electric cord. We don’t pull a car. When we want to site see (which is every day) we just unplug the electricity and put away the cord. And, away we go… seeing things on our bucket list.

THE RIDGE AT TAHOE

Our third love of travel is our time shares at The Ridge resort at Tahoe. Our good friends Bill and Doris introduced us to The Ridge. Love The Ridge because it is 30 years old and looks like it is just a few years old. They keep all the towers updated regularly and have great management. Tahoe offers so many things that are rare to find at one location: mountains, lake and first class casinos. We tell everyone it combines three different vacations that we love. One of our main vacation spots when we lived in Kansas City was the Lake Of The Ozark’s in Missouri. Tahoe reminds us of that. Another love was going to the mountains in Colorado. Tahoe reminds us of that. Another love is going to Las Vegas. Tahoe reminds us of that. So Tahoe is a combination of The Lake Of The Ozark’s, the Colorado mountains and Las Vegas. It doesn’t get better than that…

Chick at Lake Tahoe

Along with the timeshares we own we use the Last Minute Deals that are available thru RCI and Interval International. Once you own a timeshare and it is placed thru one of the big travel companies, they offer special deals to help fill their units. As an example, RCI offers specials good for the next 60 days. You can rent a one or two bedroom for a week in almost any State for around $280 (or a little more depending on location, size and popularity). We like RCI better than II for last minute travel. We try to supplement our motorhome travels with a week in a timeshare every two to four weeks. We then stay at the time share and travel in our motorhome every day going in a different direction. We explore the area around the timeshare within a 100 mile radius, using the condo as a base location.

MAY 1ST TO DECEMBER 31ST 2016

Our retirement started on May 1st and we left home on May 2nd for our “Retirement Cruise”.  Flew to Hawaii, spent a few days on Oahu and then boarded the ship. Went around all the islands and then across the Atlantic, ending in Vancouver. Flew back to Phoenix and then left on May 31st for our six month travels with our Class B motorhome with mixing in a few timeshares.

Our plans took us to Tahoe at the Ridge timeshare for a few weeks, then using our motorhome we drove to Santa Barbara and up the PCH, Highway 1. We drove thru California and Oregon.  With a one week stop at our friends, Donna and Bill’s home in Lincoln City, Oregon.  Then we drove North thru Washington around the Olympic National Park.

RV Park in State of Washington

Then across the top of Washington on Highway 20 into Idaho.

Lake in Cascade National Park

Then South thru Montana, Wyoming (Yellowstone Park), over to South Dakota and then down to Omaha. We spent a month with our daughter and her family then drove to Kansas City for two weeks. We left KC for a week in Branson, MO at another timeshare and then drove back to our sticks and bricks home in Phoenix arriving by Election Day. We only stayed home a week and then drove North to Vegas. This is the best time of the year to watch college football at the sportsbooks.  We have been in Vegas with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas that we spent back in Phoenix. We are now in Vegas celebrating the New Year and then will attend the CES convention before heading back to Phoenix.

Las Vegas Resort RV Park, where we are now.

This was a short version of our 2016 travels.  We hope you had the time to read our much lengthier tales in our blogs. We try to post more often in our Row With Mick And Chick Facebook page and our longer tales in the blog.

We wish everyone a fantastic 2017 and look forward to see what our adventures will bring us this year.  Please follow us and tell others about Mick and Chick. Please spread the word…

THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST LEFT US SPEECHLESS

THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST LEFT US SPEECHLESS
(But, we have enough words left to tell about our travels)

 

OREGON – 101 drive along the Ocean

Last August we were driveway camping at the home of our friends, Donna and Bill, in Lincoln City. We spent a week with unbelievable views of the ocean, great weather, good restaurants, good company. We loved Oregon more than California. Could you believe it?  A place we will come back to often. Next year we hope to stop and visit with John J. and his family in Southern Oregon.  After all, he owes me a beer and I’m going to collect.

View of the Pacific Ocean from D & B’s home in Lincoln City, Oregon

WASHINGTON – Beautiful State –Much to do and see

Drove North on the 101, along the coast into Washington. While visiting Tacoma, we ate at The Cloverleaf Tavern on 6th Avenue a highly recommended establishment from our friend Eric L.  Great pizza!  It’s been in existence for years!

Spent the night at a KOA in Gig Harbor. Love Gig Harbor!  We were introduced to Gig harbor a few years ago by our friends Kathy and Gary. It is very upscale and beautiful. Surrounded by water on three sides.  If we could ever match those six numbers, we would consider buying a sticks and bricks home there.

KOA, electric only hook up site.

Back to the 101 and up to the NW point of the U.S. You can see Vancouver Island across the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Drove around the top of the Olympic National Forest to Port Townsend.  Spent the night with a beautiful view of the water.  We then rode a ferry across to Whidbey Island.

Spending a week we drove across the top of Washington on Highway 20, within a few miles of Canada.  This route took us thru the Cascade National Park.

IDAHO AND MONTANA

Drove into Idaho and stayed in an RV park at Sandpoint, Idaho.  We then dropped down to Coeur d’Alene for another night. Continuing East over to Anaconda, MT for a week at a timeshare. Every day we explored in a different direction.  Montana is a beautiful State with a lot to see.  One day we drove to Helena, MT and did a driving tour of the mansions built during the mining era.

Livingston, Mt was our next stop, where the “rich and famous” have homes. The RV park in Livingston is where we discovered the unusual item that someone left behind behindin the RV Park bathroom. You never know what you’ll find when you use a unisex bathroom.  This time I found a slingshot.

YELLOWSTONE NP

Next we drove into Yellowstone Park, thru the North entrance.  We stayed at the Fishing Bridge RV park for three nights. Yellowstone is a bucket list destination and a must do. Chick had visited Yellowstone as a young girl.  Mick has never had the pleasure.  Chick says it is timeless and still the same as it was 50 years ago.

Leaving Yellowstone, we went out the East entrance heading to South Dakota. Spent one night at Sundance RV park and drove by the Devils Tower.

Love this photo of the picnic tables, taken at Sundance RV park…

The Devils Tower,

SOUTH DAKOTA

Hope to spend more time here in the future…

Have you ever been to Deadwood, SD?  We stayed at the Creek Side Campground.  Highly recommend Creek Side. It’s a small park with lots of unique amenities.  Between the RV Park and the highway there is a dirt trail for quads that leads to over 700 miles of trails.  Fun, fun, fun…

This is an outhouse with modern plumbing.  Yes… they also had nice bathrooms with shower, toilet and sink in private rooms.

Deadwood (famous for casinos) and Sturgis (famous for bikers) are great places to visit and easy to spend a few extra days. Our visit to Sturgis was two weeks after their big annual rally.

Drove East on interstate 90 and did the mandatory stop at Wall Drug.  A must see…

OMAHA

Left South Dakota and headed to Omaha where we lived for ten years of our 51 years of marriage.  We lived in Omaha when our two daughters were in school from 3rd grade thru HS. We driveway camped for the month of September at our daughters home in Gretna, Nebraska just outside Omaha.  Got to visit with our daughter and her family and four of our grandchildren.  We have lots of friends and relatives in Omaha with great memories.  Almost everyday we had lunch with another old friend (saying old for how long we have known them, not how old in age they are.  Well… sometimes, anyway).

LOVE September in Nebraska where we can watch Husker Football with fanatics just like Mick! Not many things in life are better than watching Nebraska football, GBR. Or, I should say… Gooooo Biiiiiig Reeeeeeddddddddd…. I think you get the idea.  I do want to mention, they never lost a game while we were in town.

MISSOURI

Our home State where Mick and Chick were raised and went to school and fell in love and got married 51 years ago.

In October we left Nebraska and went to Kansas City, MO and Independence, MO.   We got to visit with some really old friends and relatives.  Really old…  This was like Happy Days.  We did a lot of reminiscing and visiting old sites. We parked three days in Merriam KS and ten days at the Blue Springs Lake RV Park in Missouri.  Had a mini class reunion with Rockhurst High School classmates.

We tearfully left the Kansas City area and headed to Branson, MO for a week at a last minute timeshare. Next year we hope to visit The Lake Of The Ozark’s, where we use to vacation when we were young and foolish. The difference now is we are old and foolish. We have a lot of great memories from those years at the Lake Of The Ozarks.

PHOENIX, AZ – HOME

We left Branson, MO and made it home in two days of hard driving on time for the election. We left home on this trip on May 31st and got back around the first week of November.

LAS VEGAS – COLLEGE FOOTBALL

After one week in Phoenix, we decided there were two important weekends of CFB coming up, so we headed to Vegas for ten days. We love watching games in the Sports books and betting on the games. We stay at The Las Vegas Resort. It’s not in the best part of Vegas. But, it is gated and a very nice park with $29 a night rates. It has private bathrooms with toilet, sink and shower. The people running the park and all their workers have great customer skills and loaded with charisma and always happy.  Love staying in a park where they always have a smile and happy to see you.

Here’s a hot tip…

We discovered a free app called Tunity that works great in sports books or Sports Bars. One of the problems of watching a game in a Sports Book is the sound is never on the game you are watching. With this app, you point yout phone at the TV for the game and press “Scan”. It scans the show and then finds the broadcast and plays the TV broadcast sound of the game directly on your phone. Mick also has blue tooth wireless headphones and can then hear the broadcast of the game thru the headphones.  Of course this app will work at your home, restaurant or anywhere there is a broadcast that you want to here on your phone.

THANKSGIVING – Back to Phoenix

We came back to Phoenix for two or three weeks. Had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our oldest daughter and her family. She has two of our grandchildren. We hope you can tell, we are very proud of all six of our grandchildren.

Las Vegas – again

Did I mention, we love College football? I thought so…. I might not have really told you how much though. The 40+ CFB bowl games started on December 17th and go until the Championship game on January 9th. We also attend the CES convention that is in Vegas every January.  We reserved a month at The Las Vegas Resort RV park from the 15th of December to the 15th of January 2017. So, back to Vegas we went, But, this time we did something very different. We also brought our car. Which we never do. But, when you are sitting for a month; and, you plan on driving back to Phoenix for Christmas (four days). It’s nice having the car. We checked on renting one in Vegas and it was around $400. It was much cheaper to bring our car from home then to rent one in Vegas.

CHRISTMAS IN PHOENIX

We drove home from Vegas for four days and had Christmas with our oldest daughter and her family.  They annually have the traditional Italian Seven Fishes Feast on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas from Mick and Chick! ! !

BACK TO VEGAS

Back to Vegas for the remaining Bowl Games and the CE convention.  While in Vegas we visited the new art work about 10 miles South of town on I-15.  It is called Seven Magic Mountains.

Each rock is five or six feet tall.  If you can zoom the photo you can see people standing at the bottom of each column.

We hope you enjoyed our quick review of the last four months.  We have our next post almost ready which will be a review of our year 2016.

We wish you a prosperous, happy, joyful, healthy 2017! ! !

-Mick & Chick

Avenue Of The Giants

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We left Tahoe’s nice cool weather and aimed the Sugar Shack toward the California Coast and it’s cool weather. Our goal was to go back to Fort Bragg and resume our trip up the CA 1. We just had one problem. The middle of CA was running 102 to 105 and it was a 7 or 8 hour trip (the way we drive). We deadheaded from Fort Bragg to Tahoe two weeks earlier but didn’t want to drive that long a day going back. We believe in the 250/2:50 rule. Which is drive no more than 250 miles or until 2:50 PM whichever comes first. And, that is stretching it. We really prefer the 150/1:50 rule when we are in a scenic area. But, even though we knew the heat was in the middle of California, we decided to drive back to Fort Bragg in two days and we made an over night stop at Yuba City.

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We accidentally stumbled into a really nice RV/Mobil Home park at Travel Home Park In Yuba City. Chick was looking online for somewhere to stop that would be unique or different and saw that the County Fair Grounds allows RV’s to spend the night. Mick called and made a reservation saying we were close and would be there soon. When we arrived they apologized over and over saying they had forgotten they were not accepting RV’s because the County Fair was one week away and they didn’t want vehicles on the grass for the final week. They said they had called other RV parks to help find us a place and they had found one spot left at Travel Home Park. It was a very nice park ran by two ladies that take excellent care of all the details. The restroom was very clean and you could tell they thought of everything. The laundry was very good and clean. We normally will drive by a mobil home park that also accepts RV’s but this one is an exception.image

We left early the next morning because the heat reminded us too much of Phoenix’s Summer months that we were trying to forget. We drove to Fort Bragg and spent another night at POMO where we stayed before going back to Tahoe a week earlier. POMO is one of the best ran parks we have ever stayed at. It is very well managed, clean, big lots with vegetation surrounding each site, privacy, very nice bathrooms, showers and laundry, firewood, fire pits, paved roads, the gravel lots are raked and cleaned between tenants. Their cost is under $50 a night and that’s cheap along the CA coast. They have everything except good WIFI and they do not take credit or debit, (cash or check only). We find it’s tough to stay without the Internet and good Wifi is worth it’s weight in gold. We love POMO but would love it even more if it had good Wifi.

We left on Wednesday heading North on CA-1 or the PCH whichever you prefer to call it. This is the last week or two before school starts and parks are filling up fast. It’s still possible to find a park during the week but it might not be the park you really want and the weekends are booked. We called and made reservations in Eureka, CA at Shoreline RV Park for the following Friday and Saturday night and got their last space. We were thrilled to not have to worry about the weekend and figured we would wing it for Thursday or boon-dock

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Wow, did we discover a neat place for Thursday. We were driving up the CA 1 just North of Westport probably only 40 miles North of Fort Bragg and saw numerous places to pull off along the coast about every two or three hundred feet. Each road had a sign that said State Park. We slowed down and pulled in to investigate. There was a high cliff above the Ocean and a single paved road with ten or so spaces each with a picnic table and an outhouse across the road.

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Each park had a pay station. They had envelopes for you to fill out and put in cash or a check and then slide it into a slot That fell down to the secure bottom. The pay schedule indicated the amount and listed different discounts. We had to pay $23 which is a steal in this area. We parked and listened to the surf all night! ! !

We discovered that our two AGM batteries were not working correctly after boon-docking and we watched our house batteries for the next few days.

We drove to Eureka and stayed at an RV park for Friday and Saturday night and explored around the town. Eureka is a beautiful small town with a great dune area on a peninsula that is West of the Humboldt Bay. Sorry, we didn’t get any photos to show but Eureka is worth spending a night or two.

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After leaving Eureka, we drove through the Avenue of The Giants. Wow!

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What a scenic highway. We stopped so many times and saw so many beautiful trees that we finally hit the saturation point where we couldn’t stand to see one more gorgeous turnout! ! !

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We drove into Oregon and stayed one night at an RV park about 50 feet from the berm along the beach.

We kept a close eye on our batteries and decided that one of our AGMs probably had a bad cell. After charging the house batteries the gage would drop down to 6 cell and then stay there for hours. We decided we probably had one good battery and one bad battery. We dug out our owner’s manuals and studied the batteries and the 1250 Tripp-lite inverter/charger and how to change the battery if necessary. We discovered that the manual for the inverter said the two batteries had to be the same age. Which meant if we replaced one battery we had to replace them both.

We decided we better stop playing around and go to our friends home in Lincoln City, OR and see if we could find a decent AGM battery store. We thought we might have to go to Portland thinking we would have better luck in a bigger City.

After arriving we found online there is a Roadtrek dealer in a suburb of Portland. We called and they were very nice and helpful but said they were booked solid for a month or more but offered to squeeze us in for a battery check. When I told them we were on the coast they suggested we try Les Schwab. We tried them and were referred to someone else and they referred us to someone else and so on and so on until we finally found, (we need a drum roll please)… All Start Auto Electric, Inc in Newport, Oregon. Very knowledgable, efficient and got us right in. The final result… we bought two AGM Gel Cell 6 volt Trojan batteries about $620 installed.

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The short week we have had them, we are very impressed and happy and they have stayed fully charged. How, when and why the batteries died (I guess I should say one battery) we don’t know. We bought our Ranger RT exactly two years ago in August of 2014. But the Chevy Express is a 2013, so we do not know the exact age of the batteries but…. We do know they have set in Phoenix plugged into 30 Amp for weeks at a time. The heat in Phoenix tends to shorten the life of a battery to about half what is normal. So, we can’t complain about the life of the original batteries. We are very pleased that with this problem we were able to manage it and get it fixed without turning a molehill into a mountain and now we are back on the road and feel better about boon-docking in the future with two really strong house batteries. I just wish we had some solar to help increase our boon-docking ability.

THE BIRDS HAVE BEEN SQUAWKING OUR NAME

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Well… Have you got our little hint in the title? Maybe you’re to young to know. If not, we will explain later in this post.

 

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Today’s drive is why we own a Class B “Roadtrek” instead of a Fifth Wheel or a Class A (Those were our other two choices). Today we drove a kinky road that was twisty curvy so much we wondered what it would be like just to drive straight line.

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Honestly… It went from one turn to another without a straight stretch between. It said no vehicles over 35 feet! ! ! Obviously, not everyone obeys the sign (maybe they can’t read). We had a close call with one idiot who was going South driving a pickup with a Fifth Wheel attached. He had to be 50 feet long and in the curve (where we met) he was over the yellow line a good foot. My problem was the vegetation on the shoulder was to the edge of the pavement. I use the word “shoulder” very loosely because there wasn’t one. Luckily, we were able to swerve enough to the right to miss him. The problem with cheating on the 35 foot rule is you will meet someone in a curve with no warning, just need quick reflexes to save your life and the idiot’s life.

Sorry, we didn’t tell you where we were driving. We left Sausalito, CA and drove CA 1 North and ended up at the Bodega Bay Marina RV park. It was a beautiful drive. One of those drives that made Mick wish he was the passenger like Chick so he could see the coast!

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We went thru Olema, CA and seriously thought about staying overnight at Olema RV park. From the road it looked beautiful. But, it was not on the water and no Ocean view. So, we wrote it down for future consumption if needed.

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Right after Olema is Pt Reyes and we fell in love. Pt. Reyes is one of those little towns that makes you glad you are a retired RV’er with no schedule. We did not have a reservation and were free as a bird. We parked and strolled thru the town. We saw the word Organic used a lot. There was a coffee shop with a semi long line and local wine was sold in the store. Napa Valley is just North of San Francisco. Mick bought a coffee and Chick bought an item or two from the local grocery. We seriously thought about going back to Olema RV Park And staying a night or two; but, the lure of the surf hitting the beach at Bodega Bay was too much.

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Google told us there was an RV park at the Marina in Bodega Bay and we wanted to check it out before reserving. We read Campskunk’s Post (our hero) where he said that he boon docked near Bodega Bay but we were in the mood for a park. We decided it was ok and reserved two nights. Next, we are heading to Fort Bragg and then a quick trek from West to East across CA to Tahoe for a week. We will either post from Fort Bragg or before or after another week in Tahoe. Mick says, “CYA later, alig…” (are you old enough to remember?)

Oh by the way… Our little hint, was the movie by Alfred Hitchcock, “The Birds” was filmed at Bodega Bay. If you are too young to remember get the DVD.

Another Benefit to owning a Class B Motorhome

The “Life Style” of traveling in a Class B is so unique because you always have your home with you.  Everywhere we go we have our own potty, refrigerator, bed, etc… We do not have to pull a car behind and then drive the car wherever we go but get to take our home instead.  It’s truly a different “Life  Style” that some  people just don’t get.   I  heard  the other  day that one guy owned a Trek and pulled a Smart Car.  I thought….. He just doesn’t get it..  It hasn”t dawned  on him yet and probably never will.   We don’t set up permanent in a  campground.   Only hook  up  electricity.  We dump and fill water once  a week  or when needed if sooner.  Mick calls it, “changing her diaper and feeding her another bottle.”  When we want  to  leave, we unplug and put the  cord away and  off we go.

Here is another benefit that we just discovered.   We are traveling in California. We had forgot but were quickly reminded that in CA the customer has to either bring bags to the store for their groceries or pay extra for a paper bag. The first time we paid extra for the bags. But, then my brilliant wife said, we are only taking them to our home that is in the parking lot. Just have them check the groceries and put them back in the basket. So we did.

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I passed the groceries to Chick  thru the door and she  put them up.  What a brilliant wife!  No bags, no plastic  or paper to throw  away!  Groceries where  they  belong!!!

 

Insurance Part One

(We hope to only do two blogs about insurance. The rest will be about our travels)

Insurance can be a very boring topic.

That is.. until you have a claim, and then it is too late. With this in mind we have promised to blog our thoughts from 45 years of experience owning an insurance agency. How to shop/buy the correct insurance for your RV. Hopefully you will not have to read the entire blog and you can skip down to the part that interest you and just read or reread that section. We will post about insurance in two separate blogs because one would be too long a blog.

Who wants to spend time with an insurance agent?

You know, maybe a couple of hours? Oh by the way, he/she will also talk to you about life insurance; and your home, boat, motorcycle, camper, Long term care insurance. Anything else? How about an exciting discussion about Obama Care? Did we say a couple of hours? It could be 3 or 4. Another problem that people worry about… is they think it will be like going to confession. The agent is going to find out about all of their problems, accidents, tickets, credit score… Who doesn’t have a skeleton or two hidden away in their closet? Do you really want to talk about them? Most agents will not nail you to a cross because you have one or two or three, etc… Believe me, they have seen everything. I sometimes felt like a psychologist or a bartender, LOL. What if you decided that you don’t want to talk with an agent and decide you are going online for quotes. Are you ready to go online? Do you know enough to shop without an agent? Do you really understand insurance and all the coverages? Liability is normally the first coverage they bring up. Do you understand liability enough to purchase it without some expert advice? What if they offer single limit coverage of 100,000, 250,000 or 500,000 or they offer split limit coverage of 100/300/100. Or 250/500/100 or 250/500/250. What is the difference between single and split? Which is better and how much do I need? Just maybe an agent would be worth their weight in gold. They can help advise you about the coverages. But, will an agent sell you what you need for your particular life situation? Because not everyone needs the same coverages, Or, will an agent steer you toward what makes the agent more commission? Who do you trust and how do you know whether you were talked into something you do not need?

When I was a teenager, I had the opportunity to work with a mechanic who had a thriving business and was a good friend of our family. I assisted him over a three year period and learned a lot about cars. This information has helped me through life. Every time I had to visit a garage, I had this basic knowledge about how engines work and could spot someone who was trying to sell me something I didn’t need. I also understood what is important to do now and what I could put off until I had the money.

We hope this blog about insurance for your RV will give you some basic knowledge that will help you understand insurance and give you the confidence to converse with an agent or a company representative about your RV insurance. Let’s get started…

Who is the Best Insurance Company for my motorhome?
What do you pay In premiums?

These are common question that pop up frequently on Facebook in different RV forums. People should mention what company they like and why. There are a lot of good companies out there. The problem is when they mention what they pay in premium. There are a lot of variables that come into play when comparing vehicle insurance with another RV owner. What other people pay in premiums normally does not help you in finding the best buy for your RV, in your State with your Life situation. Even then you cannot expect to pay the same premium that someone else is paying. I will explain why in the next few paragraphs. If you look at the top five Insurance companies in the US and then looked at how they compare with each other in ten different States. You will find they will rank from one to five completely different in each of the ten States. Also, each company offers different endorsements as an enticement to get you to buy. So, learning about their unique enhancements and asking questions about their claims experience might be a valuable thing to know. Also, knowing the A. M. Best rating of an Insurance Company would be helpful. This tells you the financial strength of the company. This can be found online or you can ask each company for their rating when you are getting a quote. The best rating is A++ and we would not consider any company with less than an A rating.

Insurance is regulated by the State government and not by our National government. So, insurance will be slightly different in each State. The policy requirements are different in each State and the coverages can be different and some of the endorsements are different. Each State has an Insurance Commissioner so there are 50 Insurance Commissioners in the USA. All 50 belong to the NAIC which is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The NAIC meets every now and then and they vote on what they call model legislation. Each commissioner takes that model legislation back to their State and they try to get it enacted into law. This is how our 50 States can regulate insurance and how they stay fairly close to the same. But, because it is regulated by the State, the regulation will be slightly different. A perfect example of differences would be the minimum amount of liability required in your State. Some have a minimum of 15/30/10, or 25/50/10 or 50/100/10. Some States will require certain endorsements that other States do not have. A good example would be… Arizona offers an endorsement called FGB which stands for Full Glass Breakage. If you have Comprehensive coverage on your vehicle and you have a deductible of 100 or 250 or 500, you can add FGB and then if you have a glass claim your company will pay the total cost without a deductible. In other words, FGB removes the deductible for any glass claims but leaves the Compressive deductible in effect for any other Comp loss, like theft, fire, vandalism, etc… This endorsement is available in very few States (I really do not know what States or how many States). If you are lucky enough to be in a State that offers FGB and if you add that endorsement to your policy then a windshield will cost you zero (no deductible) In case of a breakage.

Every Insurance company in each State that they are licensed to do business, normally break down the premium by the zip code where you live. They use Zip codes because if you give the wrong Zip Code with your address, then the mail will be returned back to the insurance company with a note from the post office saying the address was incorrect. The companies research what the claim frequency is in each zip? How much crime, how much vandalism, how many stolen vehicles. How bad is the congestion on the roads. That is why if you live near the middle of a large City your premiums will be higher than someone who lives in the suburbs. More congestion. What are the expenses to repair vehicles in your area, etc… Many different factors go into the computing of the basic rate each company will charge for a policy. If you live in a large City your premiums will be much higher than someone who lives in a small rural town. Someone in Chicago will pay much more than someone in Madison, Wisconsin. Phoenix will have much higher premiums than Omaha, Nebraska, etc…. Then info about each person and how that affects the premium and the difference in coverages that people pick will be discussed in a later paragraphs. These items have a major effect as to what the premium will be.

Not only can the State require different endorsements added to all policies in the State but also, insurance companies will offer unique endorsements that no other or few other insurance companies offer. Like Full Replacement Cost coverage. Some offer this in the first two years of the vehicle some offer this for the first five years of a vehicle. Many insurance companies do not offer this coverage. This endorsement (you have to read your policy to see exactly what it covers) normally will pay the cost of replacing your vehicle with a brand new model if your vehicle is totaled. So, if your vehicle is a 2014 and the vehicle is totaled in the year 2016, they will settle the claim giving you enough to buy a new 2016 instead of what a 2014 was worth. It’s impossible for us to explain this coverage since each company has a unique attitude toward this coverage and different wording in their policy. Also most companies have a different policy toward their vacation expense coverage. That is…. if they even offer it. If vacation expense is not offered then they might not be giving you an RV policy and instead just insuring your vehicle as a basic vehicle that it was before they made it into an RV. This is discussed at length in a few paragraphs under the title, “One of the most important”.

More reasons why people cannot compare their premium with another motorhome/RV owner is each person is uniquely different in age, driving experience, driving record, credit score, etc… Are you and the person you are comparing policies with the same age? Most insurance companies lower rates at age 30 and again at age 50 and start raising rates at age 70. Some go up every year after 70, some go up at 70, 75 and then 80. Some start raising at 60 or 65. Do you have the same driving record (tickets and/or accidents). Do you both have the same credit rating? Yes, insurance companies do look at your credit. It’s a proven fact that people with a better credit score have less claims than people with lower scores. The NAIC put out a White Paper over 30 years ago saying it was not fair to charge someone with superior credit the same premium as someone with poor credit. In fact good credit can be a huge difference in premium. How about your liability limits? How much liability do you carry and what limits does the person you want to compare with carry? What deductibles do you have on Comp and Collision. What is the value of your Roadtrek compared to the person you are comparing with? There are a lot of different coverages available. Which ones do you have and what did they buy? How much personal property do you have with your policy to cover your contents? Do you have vacation expense coverage to pay your expenses if your vehicle is unusable for a few days or weeks. Motel expenses eating in restaurants expenses, etc…?

So, who is the best insurance company for my motorhome??? It’s impossible to say. You need to get quotes and decide or just stay with that agency that you have a good relationship with and you love the way they treat you. That is very important. Having an agency that you know will not sell you more or less than what you need and has your back in case there is trouble. That will take the time to explain everything in simple layman terms.

I always recommend to first call your auto and home insurance company and give them the first chance. There are some good reasons to keep everything insured with the same company. First it is very convenient to call one number. Second, some claims are covered by two different policies. Let’s say you have a boat and someone steals your boat from the dock while you were inside paying for the gas you just filled. Some of the items in your boat will be covered by your homeowners policy and some will be covered by the boat policy. It just might be easier to have one company adjust the claim instead of two different companies. If you have two, your home policy might say your fishing gear is covered by your boat policy and the boat policy might say it is covered by your home policy as contents away from home. If you have both policies with the same company then they know they have to cover it with one policy or the other but cannot deny the coverage. We can give more examples but think you are getting the point we are making. Also, there are a lot of discounts offered by insurance companies to have all your coverage with just one company. Also, if you have an umbrella policy then it might be required to have all the underlying coverage with them or they might charge you more for the umbrella because you have coverages with another company. Or, they might cancel the Umbrella policy if some of the underlying coverages are insured with a different insurance company. Yes, we have seen this happen. The most important reason to call your home and auto agent is the trust you have with them as I mentioned earlier. If this is missing then you need another agency who you can trust.

But, if your company or your agency does not know what they are doing or their premiums are just too high, you might need to switch your motorhome to another company. We have seen agencies that absolutely do not know what they are doing when insuring a motorhome. So, be leery and study up about RV insurance so you can recognize someone who is incompetent. We frequently suggest Progressive or Good Sam (which is an independent Agency with many companies) or whoever has a great rate and gives you very good coverage for the State where you live. We do not know all the companies, it’s up to you to call around and get quotes. But, go with someone who convinces you they Are competent and they understand your type of RV and offers you the right coverages.

One of the most important things you need to think about when buying insurance for your RV is to make sure they are insuring it as an RV. A good example is, If you have a Class B motorhome make sure they insure it as a motorhome and not as a (Chevy, Mercedes, Dodge) panel van. The VIN number will show your RV to be just a van. To give you a good example. My 2014 Roadtrek Ranger was built on a 2013 Chevy Express Van. When we put the VIN in the insurance company computer it brought up a 2013 Chevy Express and not a 2014 Roadtrek. My own CSR said, “I thought you told me you bought a 2014 Roadtrek. The VIN says you bought a 2013 Chevrolet Express?” The VIN does not tell your Insurance Agency or Insurance Company that it is a motorhome. If you have trouble convincing whoever you are talking to, you might suggest they go to Roadtrek.com and look at the models. Or, if it is an agency in your town, you might consider taking it to their office. This is very important because the repair and value is much higher on a Class B motorhome than on the panel van that the VIN showed. If it is insured wrong and you have a claim you are going to have a real mess. Also, if you are not retired and only use your RV a few weekends a year and maybe one or two vacations, then most insurance companies will give you a 12 month policy for the premium of a six month policy. Because they understand it is parked most of the time and not exposed to the claims like someone who drives it daily or is a full-time RV’er.

What if I am a Full time RV’er?

If you are one of the lucky ones who are full-timing, then you have a different set of opportunities and/or problems. The big advantage is… you can use insurance as one of the factors to decide where to set up your permanent address. We suggest you look at small rural towns in a State that does not have catastrophic claims like hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, etc… Look at small rural towns because they have less congestion and less accidents per capita and the premiums will be much less. You want to stay away from States that have a lot of storm damage because those losses are spread through out the State by raising everyone’s premiums to cover the storm losses. One of the problems full timers face is insurance companies will charge a higher premium for RV coverage for full timers. Because, they are not the casual RV’er who only uses their unit a few weekends and a vacation or two each year. Their RV is used 12 months a year. Their insurance will cost more on their unit.

Our next blog will talk about the different coverages and what they mean? What is liability, UM, UIM, Comp, Coll, ERS coverages and what limits should we consider? Why isn’t insurance more cookie cutter and everyone just buy the same limits and coverages?

CYA down the road..

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From 103 to 63 in 30 minutes…

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Wow, we are in heaven! We left Tahoe last Saturday and had to meet someone in Sacramento on Monday morning over a business deal. Realizing this is high vacation time, we decided to book a KOA in Placerville, CA for two nights.

We were spoiled with the temperatures in Tahoe running a high everyday of 68 to 75. We watched our home town temps in Phoenix top at 119 and were really glad to be in the Sierra Mountains at the Ridge in Tahoe.

But… Coming down the mountain to Sacramento made us think we were back in Phoenix. A heat wave ran the temps 10 degrees higher than normal and every day was over 100. With the higher humidity it felt like the monsoons in Phoenix in August.

This is not what Campskunk dimageoes. We know, we read his posts and he stays as close to 70 degrees as possible. He’s our hero. So, we are trying to do the same! We have until this Friday to go from Sacramento to Santa Barbara and planned to slowly travel thru the middle of the State, taking our time. However… Following Campskunk’s doctrine we changed our minds and
today we drove from the East coast of Cali to San Luis Obispo near the West Coast. That puts us a few miles North of Santa Barbara, three days early. But, this is what you have to do if you are going to watch the temps and hope to never turn on you’re A/C.

When we were coming down the 101, we watched the temp gage on the dash drop every ¼ mile. In less than 30 minutes, we went from 103 to 63 and that was around 3:00 PM. It dropped 40 degrees in about ten miles. WOW! Now we are cold… but who cares?

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HELLO WORLD

BY MICKANDCHICK ON APRIL 12, 2016
In our blog you will follow “Mick and Chick” as we “Retire Our Way”. You can track us through North America, using many Highways and Byways, in our Class B Roadtrek. Occasionally using a TimeShare at “All the Right Places” using their “Last Minute Deals”. Feeling a warm sea breeze from an Ocean Liner deck; and, getting vitamin-D at our S/B (sticks & bricks) home in SUNNY Arizona.

We bought our Roadtrek in August of 2014 and have taken over 20 trips and put on over 22,000+ miles. We have done many shake down trips and have some unique ideas we will share. Retirement officially started on May 1, 2016. We will blog about our travels mixing the three different methods of enjoying the World and our experiences from Mick’s point of view and from Chick’s point of view. Hope you enjoy and tell others to try our blog. -m&c

WE ARE BACK…

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We are back from our “Retirement Cruise” and getting ready to hit the road. We love the Islands and spent four days at Waikiki Beach before boarding the repositioning cruise. The boat was going from Australia to Alaska. Carnival offered three separate cruises in repositioning their ship: Australia to Honolulu, Honolulu to Vancouver, Vancouver to Alaska and back to Seattle. We first bought the second and third cruises back to back. Carnival called us and said there is a law (I think he said the Jones Act) that says you cannot do back to back if it leaves the US and ends in the US. This would have started in Honolulu and ended in Seattle. He said we could do this if there was a one day layover between cruises. I said, “Wow, that’s nice of you to offer to hold up the cruise one day just for us!” …After he stopped laughing.. we had to cancel the second of our “Back to Back” cruises. It was fantastic and we got our fix of sea breezes, found our sea legs again, gained the mandatory ten pounds and had a very relaxing eleven days. WhIle on the boat, we almost bought our next cruise gong into the Panama Canal in 2017 but that cruise was already sold out. We will be cruising again in early 2017. We just have to find the perfect one!
When did we really feel like we were retired? It wasn’t when we thought. We thought when we retired on April 30th that on May 1st we would feel like we were retired… Right? Wrong… that’s not the way it worked. Not for us anyway…
There were many different dates we could say we felt we were retired. The first date would be the official date we were retired which was May 1, 2016. But, then we can look back and admit that we haven’t had our hearts into working for about five years. So, we could give a date around 2011. Or, we could say we gave the company a twelve month notice and could say we felt we were retired on April 30, 2015. Or… We could admit that we did absolutely nothing the last three weeks of working and say we felt like we were retired in early April, 2016.
However, we both agreed the first day we actually felt like we were retired was on May 17, 2016. The reason… We flew to Hawaii on May 2nd and we flew home on May 16th and arrived late. Did we feel retired on our “Retirement Cruise”? No, not at all, we felt like we were on another vacation and were going back to our business and work. Of course we knew better; but, that’s what it felt like. We have taken many vacations before and this felt like all the others. We didn’t really feel like we were retire until the next morning.
YES, it was the morning of May 17th. We got up and did not have to go to our business. WOW, we had no place to go. What’s with that? ? ? We didn’t have a thousand emails that accumulated while we were gone and needed to be answered. These smart phones are fantastic because you can receive all your business and personal emails. But, they are horrible for the same reason, you can receive all your business and personal emails. Our company emails were shut down on May 1st but that was a Sunday and we traveled on Monday and didn’t get to appreciate that they were gone. We have taken quite a few vacations over the last few months and that first day back was always the busiest with lots of emails and phone calls to make! There were fires that had popped up and needed to be put out. We always had that responsibility of running our business. Wait a minute, say that line again… “We always had the responsibility of running our business”. And…… guess what happened on the morning of May 17th? We had NO RESPONSIBILITIES. We had nothing to do! ! !
Yahooooooo! WE ARE RETIRED! …and it only took 17 days for it to sink in!
NOW LET’S GO TRAVEL like a retired couple and not as a vacation…

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