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11/6/13 - 11/10/13 - Rainbow's End & Boot Camp

Wednesday, 11/6/13

We were up and out of Lowe's parking lot by 7:30, had a quick breakfast at IHOP (where we had to ask for maple syrup - 4 kinds of syrup at the table and none of them were maple?   Is it a Texas thing or is this at all IHOPS?    We drove about 150 miles from Marshall, TX to Livingston, TX and arrived at the Escapees Rainbow's End Park around 11:00.  We are parked in an open area with all the other boot camp participants.  The electrical pole has 50 amp and 30 amp and it's first come, first served so we ended up with 30 amp which is fine with us.   We are also sharing a sewer hook-up and the other rig has it hoses hooked up directly to the sewer.   If we need to do a dump he's going to need to unhook his hoses.   I would think that if you're sharing a hook-up you would use it as needed?   I guess we have a lot to learn about rv etiquette.   There are about 75 people signed up (couples and singles) and we are looking forward to learning more about rving.  

We walked around the campground and checked out the clubhouse which has a large book and movie library.   I brought a bunch of paperbacks with me to trade so I can't wait to get in there and find some new books to read.    We looked through the movies to see if they had "Coal Miner's Daughter" since Marty has never seen it and I would love to see it again - no luck, too bad.  
This is a sign in the clubhouse bathroom.
 Maybe I should rethink this retirement thing,
I'm too young for this crap

Thursday, 11/7/13
This was our first real day since we started where we had nothing planned.   It's a nice feeling to get to sleep in and just take it easy.  I'm glad we're going to stay here for a week or two after boot camp so we can relax and explore the area.

Friday, 11/8/13
Boot Camp Starts in clubhouse.
Here is our schedule for today:

2:00 - 2:15 Welcome Ceremony where we met the instructors and team of people who put on the Boot Camp

2:15 - 3:45 RV Systems, Part 1 - A basic summary of the different systems in an RV

4:00 - 5:30 Driving your RV safely

The seminars are interesting but the chairs we are sitting on are metal and extremely uncomfortable.  I think I missed most of the 4:00 seminar because my leg started cramping up and I had to walk around for a while.   I'm sure Marty was paying attention and got a lot out of it.

Saturday, 11/9/13

8:00 - 9:30 RV Systems, Part II

9:45 - 11:45 RV Weight and Load Management

We may be overweight (I hope not, there is nothing else I want to part with).  We will be weighed before we leave and make whatever adjustments are necessary.

1:00 - 2:30 Personal Safety for RVers

Interesting topic but why are these chairs so uncomfortable?
This was interesting, I thought they would talk mostly about guns but there was a lot of information about other ways of protecting yourself - Wasp Spray, who knew?    Actually we had heard about that before - it sprays about 20 feet away and is legal in all states.    Walmart, here we come again.  RVing is a pretty safe way to travel, you really just need to make sure you stay in campgrounds that you feel comfortable in.    Same thing when you stay in store parking lots - be aware of your surroundings and if it doesn't feel right, leave.

Fire Extinguisher Demonstration
2:45 - 5:30 Fire and Life Safety

If I had gone to this seminar before we bought our RV I might have been too scared to do it.   If there is a fire in an RV you only have seconds to get out.  You also should move away at least 2500 feet upwind and uphill.  RV fires are often caused by faulty electrical wiring and propane leaks.    Everyone should have an evacuation plan and a "go-to" bag with their personal information.   We don't have a plan yet but will before we leave this park.

6:00 - 7:00 Dinner with Instructors and Staff

We had a cook-out:  burgers, hot dogs, potato salad and beans.  Cookies for dessert - Yum.   We got to visit with other campers and met a couple with a bike rack on their ladder.   They've had no problem with it and we are thinking of getting the same kind.   Our other options is welding a frame underneath the rv and bolting a hitch to it.  The bike rack on the ladder is a much more economical way to go.

7:00 - 8:00 Full-timing roundtable

Instructors and Staff that are full timers discussed the full-timing lifestyle.  They also answered questions for the Boot Campers.

Sunday, 11/10/13 - Happy Birthday USMC (thanks to Tom I'll always know this)

8:00 - 9:30 RV Tire Safety

There is so much you need to know before you hit the road.  For instance, did you know that if you have a blowout you should keep your foot on the accelerator?  It allows you to maintain control of your rig.  Once you have control and can safely do so you can pull over.  The number one reason for blowouts is being overweight.  (I did not copy that from anything - I guess I really was paying attention.)

9:45 - 11:15 RV Hitch-up Tips

This was of particular interest to us since we seem to have a problem every time we hitch up.   I think we've got it figured out now but we have a driving lesson this afternoon and will have our instructor watch to see what we're doing wrong.

11:30 - 12:00 Graduation / Last Questions / Farewells

YAY!    Boot Camp was more intense than I expected.  A lot of information was crammed into two days.  We really did learn a lot and also were given a lot of handouts to go over.

1:30 - Our Driving Lesson with Art

We were supposed to have a 3 1/2 hour driving lesson but it turned into a RV Systems lesson with a driving lesson.  Art was incredibly patient and answered all our questions about all our systems.   Then we got hooked up and hit the road.   We drove about 15-20 miles down the road to an empty gravel lot so Marty could practice backing in (that seems to be the main and hardest thing to learn).   The biggest issue is our communication system, we've decided to use our cell phones.    I also have to make sure I stand where he can see me.  This is just going to take practice, lots of practice.   So far, every time we've arrived at a new park there has been someone with experience who has helped.  This is a good thing and a bad thing - we are getting into our spot correctly but I haven't really had the chance to just work with Marty on backing in.

When we arrived back at the campsite and got backed in (Art helped with that), we were exhausted (mentally and physically) so we decided to go to Livingston for dinner.   We found a nice Italian restaurant, Joe's Grill, and enjoyed a nice meal.  

Oh yeah, it was so hot during the backing in practice that I got a little sunburnt - sorry Chicago friends and family.