Starting Over … Again!

This is the post excerpt.

Once again I’m starting over on my blog. There was some difficulty with the previous hosting and none of the 475 posts would show up when RVingFulltimeWithTomAndElla.com was searched for.

So I’ve switched to a different hosting platform and am trying to rebuild.

Keep in mind that some of these posts go back to 2011.  That is a lot of posts to copy and paste.

Please keep checking back.

Thanks for your interest and your patience.


2017 July part 4

25th Tuesday  Tom worked 8-2:30.  After work we went to Walmart for

groceries. Afterwards we went to shopping for a garden shed. The rules at Cutty’s Resort state that all sheds on Seasonal Sites must be no larger than 7’x7’, be resin (plastic), and removable. Home Depot and Lowes didn’t have much selection. We found a 4’x6 shed at Menards for around $300.


26th  Wednesday  The day started with coffee with friends at Cutty’s Café.  In the midst of discussing and solving all the world’s problems, we made plans to meet at Village Inn for “Pie Rush Wednesday” at 3:00. We played Fast Track and ate lunch at the Grimes Senior Center.  After lunch we went back to Menards and bought the shed. In hindsight, I wish we’d paid a little more and gotten a better quality shed.  We had a few more items to purchase at Walmart. Ella bought a watch on which she can actually read the time. What a concept!

With the Hitchhiker finally completely empty, we had it moved into storage.

In the evening we played Train Dominoes at Cutty’s


27th  Thursday coffee at the Café and more games and lunch at the senior center. Then Tom worked 2-9. While Tom was at work, Cutty’s staff moved the Excel to storage and the Sierra onto our Seasonal Site. Ella was unable to get the 3 slides out. When Tom got home, he couldn’t get them out either.

28th  Friday Tom went out early (still dark) in the morning and pulled the pickup close enough to the Sierra’s batteries to give them a “jump”. With that assist, they were strong enough to get the slideouts out.

We went for coffee as usual but also ordered breakfast at the café.

While Ella worked on organizing in the trailer, Tom worked an odd shift from11-7.

After Tom was off work, we went to Cutty’s Adult Center to play Card Jackpot. We arrived shortly after they had played the first round. Normally there are 4 to a table. When we got there all the tables were full so we started a new table with just the two of us. There was so much “table talk” going on that the Caller was repeatedly asked to repeat what they had said. Several people asked to keep the talk down so that they could hear what cards were being called. After two rounds, Tom gave up and went to the café. Ella followed. We ordered a pizza. When we finished eating we saw that the Card Jackpot had finished. Several people were still complaining about the noise. However, we were the only ones who gave up and left.

29th  Saturday  There was a Block Party in our area and we had planned to attend. However, a friend’s grandson, who had been born premature, died after 17 days. Tom was asked to read the scripture verses at the funeral on Saturday.

We created a screen between our “yard” and the neighbor’s RV.  We hope to plant some climbing plants here next spring

30th  Sunday Tom preached in the morning. His title was “I Can Not be Severely Shaken” which was taken from Psalm 62. We took the truck to the car wash to remove the bird droppings. As they begin migrating, the birds stop at the trees in the campground and leave unwelcome “calling cards” on vehicles, RVs, patios and furniture. For lunch we stopped at Subway. Then Tom worked at the fee booth from  2-9.

31st  Monday would have been Tom’s mother’s 110th birthday if she hadn’t died in 1994. We did our normal routine of coffee, games and lunch. We also took more items to Union Park United Methodist for the rummage sale.


2017 JULY part 3

Grimes Senior Center

Thursday 20th  We had a white elephant gift exchange at Grimes Senior Center today. Ella got an Easter egg themed candle holder and I got a bottle of foot spray with most of the information in some Aramaic language.In the evening John, Brandon, and Nathan came out and moved the hide-a-bed from the Hitchhiker to the Sierra. Then manually pushed the slideout out so that we could empty the food stuffs and cleaning supplies that were stored in a cupboard that had been inaccessible with the slideout in. Once that was done, they pushed it back in so that it could be moved back into storage.


Friday 21st Tom worked at the fee booth from 8 to 3:30. We called Jim (the man who had expressed interest in buying the Hitchhiker) and told him that it was empty and available. He said he needed to check with his partner. In the evening we played card jackpot. Tom won one and a half nickel jackpots. (Split one because there were two winners)

Saturday 22nd was an unusual day for us. Cutty’s theme for the weekend was Christmas in July. Santa Tom wore the red suit and sat with kids while their family took photos. I was amazed at how many said they wanted Hatchimal for Christmas. I thought that FB_IMG_1500740584069-1.jpgFB_IMG_1500739214266-1.jpgphase was past. Also had requests for fidget spinners which didn’t surprise me because that seems to be the current craze in toys. Santa had one little toddler (not yet talking) who came coming back to just sit on my lap for a while. Then he would get down and run around and then come back to be picked up again. Santa also got lots of hugs. In the evening Santa changed into red jogging pants and a Hawaiian print shirt to ride around the campground with three loads of kids and adults on the hay rack while we sang a few Christmas songs. The same toddler who had sat on my lap in the morning rode most of one trip sitting on my lap again. Santa has a real fan in that one.

Sunday 23rd Tom preached a Christmas themed sermon and then worked at the fee booth from 2-9. Ella spent a good part of her day sorting through more “stuff”. When Tom came home she had things boxed to move from the Excel to the Sierra, and several bags of things to take for the church rummage sale. Ella and Tom may not have lost weight this summer, but the RVs sure have. It is still hard to believe that we had accumulated so much extraneous stuff.



2017 July part 2

Photo: Monday morning (17th) while I (Tom) was working the Fee Booth, the club receptionist called to say that there was a message on the voice mailbox for me. On Friday (after business hours) Mark from Methodist Hospital had called and said that a patient requested a visit from me. That and the phone number was all that was said. I immediately called and went to Mark’s voice mail. I left my name, the reason I was calling and my personal phone number. I tried several times during the day but always went straight to the mail. I was very curious as to who from Methodist Hospital was trying to reach me.

Tuesday morning I was once more at work in the Fee Booth and during a lull in activity, I called the number again. It was picked up by Mark (that I discovered was the hospital chaplain) and he explained that one of my church members had been admitted to the hospital. You need to understand that every Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day I preach at Cutty’s Resort. When he told me for whom he was calling, I thanked him and let him know that this person had been moved to hospice. After my shift was over, Ella and I went to visit with Marion and his wife at the hospice. He was very weak and tired so we didn’t stay long. We held hands and prayed together and then gave Jan a hug and let them know that if there was anything we could do to help, we would.

Wednesday was my day off and I had plans to finish unloading the Hitchhiker and get the Sierra and Excel ready to be moved. However with the actual temperature around 98 and the “feels like” temperature at 110, we didn’t accomplish as much as I’d hoped. I did

6:00 p.m. after we’d finished for the day it “cooled down” to only 103.

manage to get everything (that I can by myself) out of the Hitchhiker. We also made a lot of progress in getting things sorted into categories: keep in Sierra, keep in Excel, donate to church rummage sale, and throw away. We stowed a lot away in the Sierra, carried things to the Excel (not put away) and some things in the pickup to go to church. And we also took some time to go to Village Inn with friends for Pie Rush Wednesday.

2017 July

Independence Day celebrations at Cutty’s Des Moines Camping Resort were hectic. I should explain a little about Cutty’s. It is a member owned club which means that only Cutty’s members and their guests plus Coast to Coast members are allowed in. It has around 500 sites located on over 80 acres at the northwest corner of Des Moines. It is a true resort with a huge number of activates such as swimming (3 pools), fishing (11 acre lake), miniature golf, horseshoes, shuffle board, tennis, basketball, hot tub, sauna, exercise equipment and more, plus themed events every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Since you can remain on a site for a maximum of 14 days, people started arriving as early as June 20th, to begin jockeying for the prime spots. And as it got closer to the holiday, people started having more guests coming to their sites. The traffic in and out of the fee booth/gatehouse was amazing.

We have an annual fireworks display that is a rival of any I have seen outside a major city. This year the display was on the Sunday preceding the 4th. For that day, guests were required to park in designated areas rather than being allowed to drive to their host’s camping site. There were literally (and I know what literal means) hundreds of cars in the park that day. And, of course, after the fireworks, there was a mass exodus of all the “day guests”. It went amazingly smooth as we had two exit gates open; one for left turn only and one for right turn only. Over the next several days campers began to leave, go to storage (on the club grounds), or move to a different site. This kept us at the fee booth/gatehouse very busy. We were all glad to see it slow down to the normal busy of summer camping.

Our winter home, the Hitchhiker (which fell apart before leaving Texas in the spring) wasn’t worth the cost of repairing. So, we purchased a used 38 foot Sierra travel trailer. The plan is to leave the Sierra on our seasonal site at Cutty’s. Then we will take the Excel (which has been our summer home at Cutty’s) south to Texas. With a little imagination you can understand what we’ve been going through in moving stuff from the Hitchhiker into the Sierra. Now also understand that the Hitchhiker held our winter stuff and the Sierra is going eventually hold our summer stuff. So after the Hitchhiker is empty and gone, we can begin shifting things between the Excel and the Sierra.

The temperatures have been in the upper 90’s with high humidity which means that a 93 degree day feels like a 107 degree day. So, we have been working a moving in short bursts and drinking plenty of water.

One evening, while we were working on moving and finding places for our stuff, there was a knock on the door. A Cutty’s member stopped to ask what we were going to do with the Hitchhiker once it was empty. I told him that it was damaged and not worth our repairing so the plan was to sell it for salvage. He said that he has a hobby/business of rebuilding RVs and would be interested in buying it. Things like this, I call “God Things”. Unexpectedly, we may receive more compensation for the Hitchhiker than we had planned. With the expenses involved in purchasing the Sierra, paying for the storage of both the Hitchhiker and the Sierra it has stressed our bank account. A major part of our coming back to Iowa and Cutty’s is to earn and bank a little money. We have not been able to keep the money in the bank this year.

We have still managed to work in some time to play games with friends. When my work schedule allows, I play dominoes on Wednesday evenings and card jackpot (think Bingo with playing cards) on Friday evenings. Also as work allows I go to the Grimes senior center for games and lunch. Ella, unrestricted by a job, attends all of these.

2017 June 13


It was still about 45 minutes to dawn when I got up and started working on various things on the computer.

I’ve check the schedule for today … there is nothing on it … no place we HAVE to be. Nice!

It is now 6:30 a.m. and 72 degrees. The high today is predicted to be 93 again. I’ll have to set the a/c so that it doesn’t run much (as I was typing that, the a/c kicked on. who knew it had a sense of irony?).

2017 June 12

Tom was up at 5:30 and spent some time working on sermons and bulletins. After Ella got up and was showered, we went to the cafe for breakfast pizza (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and several types of cheeses).

We then went to the Grimes senior center for games and lunches.

I think it was nearly 2:00 when we finished our last game of Fast Track.

Tom’s prescription was ready for pickup at Walmart so we also purchase a few non perishable groceries.

From there Ella wanted to go to Home Makers (furniture store) to look for recliner love seats. I was surprised that they are all electrically adjustable and if you prefer they be manually adjustable, they have to be special ordered. This seems like a sad statement on modern life. When it becomes too much work to pull the lever on the side of your Lazy Boy recliner, you really are a lazy boy.

It was hot (93 degrees) in the afternoon and the air conditioning was running constantly.

Around six o’clock I started to grill some steaks when the power went out. Since we live in an RV, the ceiling lights are on a separate power supply (house batterys) and they stayed on. I first checked the RV’s breaker box and toggled all the switches off and on.  But, nope, nothing happened. So then went outside and checked the power pedestal. I toggled those switches off and on. Still nothing. That’s when I put in a call for the campground maintenance to come and help. It was maybe fifteen to twenty minutes when he arrived. He went to the pedestal and toggled the switches and the power came back on. Evidently, the breakers had to cool a while before they would reengage.

At this point we turned the air conditioning off and just ran it on the fan setting. We finished our supper of steak, baked potato, and beans. By then it was becoming overly warm so I turned the a/c on again. Instead of waiting for the Excel to cool off again, we went to Home Depot to pick up two sixteen-cent spikes. I want them to hold our awning support more securely to the ground.

After this major purchase, we returned to Cutty’s and went to the cafe for ice cream. We stayed at the cafe for about a half hour. By the time we returned home, it had cooled off considerably.

The rest of the evening was spent watching television and working on the blogs.2017-06-12_19.08.44.jpg

Sky at sunset was full of clouds. We sure could have used a few of those during the heat of the day.

2017 June 11 Sunday

2017 June 11 Sunday.

We had a communal breakfast at the Clubhouse this morning. All you can eat: scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, toast, juice, milk, and coffee. Plus for an additional dollar a quarter pound breakfast sausage. Tom had two sausage but skipped the hashbrowns and went easy on the eggs.

Following breakfast we held a Worship Service at the Adult Center. Tom’s topic “In Every Ending there is a Beginning.”

After our worship service, we went to our nephew, (actually Tom’s great-great nephew) Demitri’s graduation party. Most of the family sat outside on the deck. Thankfully, it was shaded because the temperatures were in the mid 90s. It was nice to get together with more family.

Coming back to the Excel, the air conditioning, and the recliners was the perfect way to spend the remainder of our Day of Rest.

Between the nieces who just stopped by this week, the wedding, and the graduation party, it has been sort of a fragmented family reunion. Tom is now the “Patriarch” of the Williams Family. That is a sobering thought. We got to see some of his great-great-great nieces and nephews this weekend. It also reminded me of those loved ones who are no longer with us.

We ended the day with a dish of ice cream and an interesting sunset.