Wow. What to say about myself...Hmmm. Ok, let's try this. I share my house with 2 cats who think they own it.(They are indoors only cats.) I spent 20 years as a Navy Hospital Corpsman. I explored some of the west coast and lots of the pacific rim and the southern ocean areas.
After taking retirement from the navy, I went to nursing school. I worked as a nurse for 15 years and then I took an early retirement. Along the path of my journey, I've had 3 wives and I have 2 children who make me proud every day. I look after my mom and take her back and forth to her medical appointments. Dad left this world on new years day in 2002. My parents were school teachers.
We moved around a bit when I was a kid, but always within Iowa. I counted once and discovered that I moved 7 times before graduating high school. I'm not sure that my lifetime number hasn't left out one or two moves, but I count my lifetime total at somewhere near 35 moves. Although not in an RV, I guess I have lived a somewhat nomadic lifestyle for all these years.
I love to read and have made friends with several local authors. I also love to write and to share my experiences with others. (That's another way of saying that I'll bore you with my navy stories if you let me-LMAO.) I am currently working on writing my first book.
Over my years I have told stories. Every sailor has his (or her) favorite story to tell about their adventures on the high seas. We call them "Sea stories" and they are a bit like fishing tales. The common joke goes like this: What's the difference between a fairy tale and a sea story? A fairy tale starts out "Once upon a time..." and a sea story starts out "This ain't no shit..." LOL. For years, people kept telling me that I should write a book with my sea tales. I was like yeah, right. Nobody would read that.
Then it happened. A woman at the nursing home whom I had known and taken care of for just over 3 years called me to her bedside late in the evening shift. She was one of my favorite patients and I had become quite attached to her. I figured she needed help to go to the bathroom or maybe she needed a pain pill. NOPE! She said that she was going to die (it amazes me how some people just know that) and she wanted me to promise her that I would write the book that she had so often urged me to write.
To help calm her, I promised and then used all my medical skills to check that she wasn't in any real danger. Well, something WAS just a little out of place but it was nothing major. I called the on call Dr. and gave her a report just to be safe. She gave new orders which I implemented from our emergency start drug kit. (the issue was borderline and usually not life threatening, but still it had to be addressed.) I had the next day off and when I returned to work I learned that my friend had died early that morning.
If I had realized what it takes to write a book, I never would have made her that promise.
Now, with each story or anecdote I write, I think of 2 or 3 more that I need to include in the book. Maybe I'll never finish it. Well much like Rving or living a nomadic lifestyle, it's more about the journey than the destination.
Iowa is a socially and culturally diverse place. (Ok, maybe not as much as some other places, but we are diverse.) I think that too often the diversity is subdued rather than celebrated. I enjoy celebrating our diversity and learning from other people. Hopefully, some little thing I say or do will go with them in their lives too. As a relative newbie to RVing, I have embraced a new and diverse group of people. They have embraced me and have taught me much already. As a way to give to the RVing community in addition to taking from the many wonderful people I have met so far, I joined Boondockers Welcome. It has helped me to meet even more wonderful people. I am really enjoying the experience so far and I think it will only get better. Thanks to you all for being simply GREAT people!
Oh yeah, several of my guests have asked me about my experiences being a guest of other BW members. I have none. So far, I haven't taken a trip of significant distance in my rig. I don't expect that I will soon as my vintage rig averages 6 mpg. But I have fun dry camping at nearby county and state parks.
Jack of all trades. Still learning. I think my biggest skill is having and using common sense. It seems that it isn't as common today as the name would imply. (LOL)
I am building my 3rd boat now. Nothing huge, just something to have fun with while fishing at the lake. I'm good with AC electric work and am learning more about 12 volt (DC) systems. Plumbing is no problem unless a stopped up drain is involved. I suck at stopped up drains-lol. Otherwise, I guess you could say that I have advanced homeowner skills and enough of a brain that I can usually find a way to apply them to an RV with reasonably good results.
I'm also an accomplished amateur genealogist. I have traced one of my family lines back to about 1670 in Germany. I'm not quite as far with some of the other lines, but it is a labor of love. Genealogy is addictive. Each answer presents several new puzzles that must be solved. (I spend lots of time in libraries and county recorder offices-lol) Along my genealogical journey, I conducted a complete survey of a nearby pioneer cemetery a few years ago. I gave the resulting data to the county genealogical society. It was a fun project.
I have two cats. Both were rescued animals. The cats are of the indoors only variety. In the past I have had dogs, birds and a few other small animals. I welcome your pets just as I welcome you. They are family members after all. I don't often travel with my cats, but once in a while, I'll take them with me for a few days if I am going to have an electric hookup. If I am boondocking, the cats stay home as I worry about heat stressing them.
Mariposa county park. Jasper county, IA just about 10 miles outside of town. It's quiet and barley used. Only 15 sites total and half of those are tent camping only. The sites are all grass and they are quite large for a RV camping park. I'm usually the only one in the campground. There is water available at several points in the park, but no electric service is available. I think it is quite a bargain at $7/night.
2018 update: Mariposa park has been closed while a major reconstruction takes place. The lake has been drained and is being deepened and enlarged. Plans for the new lake include a boat ramp. The project is a joint county and state operation and it is expected to take 2 years.
I recently did a recon on another county park. Ashton Wildwood park stands in a grove of oak and hickory treesin northwest Jasper county. There are 12 campsites. The campsites are unimproved, so it is completely primitive camping. I plan to camp there for a few days next week. ($7/night just like Mariposa has been.) Perhaps it will become a new favorite.
I have also begun to investigate the Big Creek Lake WMA north of Des Moines. It is a free dispersed camping area. I'll take the car and do a recon of this area soon.
Newton, Iowa. Home of the Maytag corporation. Although Maytag was bought by Whirlpool a few years ago, Maytag Bleu cheese is still produced here. We now feature the wind power industry as our major industry. We have a factory that makes windmill blades and another which makes windmill towers. Newton is a quiet little burg of about 12,000 people. It is close enough to Des Moines to make shopping easy if you can't get what you need here. You get small town living with the advantage of being close enough to run into the city for an afternoon whenever the notion strikes.
1987, 22 foot Winnebago Chieftan. I bought her a few years ago for only $4K. I love to weekend in her and have occasionally taken a 150 mile trip in her. I named her Waltzing Matilda. Just after I bought her, my sister asked me about naming her. I replied that the rig felt like a Matilda. My sister said that with a great big W painted on each side, the rig should have a name starting with W. I thought for a few moments and made my decision. The next day, the rig was christened "Waltzing Matilda." The song is appropriate for the most part. Who'll come a waltzing with me? I'm fixing little things and upgrading or updating Matilda as I have fun with her. That's part of the journey (and the fun) for me. I have swapped the OEM incandescent light bulbs for LED bulbs, upgraded the shower, and added a backup camera among other little things. This year I added solar. I wanted a briefcase type solar panel array so that I wouldn't have to always park in the sun. They were expensive and under powered. (about $400 for a 100 watt briefcase.) I got a pair of 100 watt panels instead. Then I used a little woodworking skill and built them into a hinged briefcase design of my own. I spent just under $300 (including the charge controller and quite a few feet of 10 gauge wire) and I got double the wattage of the pre-made briefcases while saving a hundred bucks. I upgraded my battery bank to 400 amp/hours as well. My battery box is now full. With my usual power usage, I can now boondock without worry for up to 10 days. (More if I go into extreme survival mode.) No, I'm not a survivalist, but it doesn't hurt to have at least a rough plan. (Too many years of contingency planning in the navy, I guess-lol.) Next year, my upgrade will be getting a genny. 2018 update: My plans to buy a genny are on hold. Yes, I know the adage that behind every good solar system lies a generator, but the solar is doing fine for me so far. This year my project is rebuilding the dining/living area in the rig. With the classic "breakfast nook" style dining area gone, there is lots of room to get creative. I'm still working on the new design.
Nice welcome and set up in a quiet neighborhood with a park across the street. We came in with some rainstorms and didn't get to enjoy our host's firepit but we got tucked in for the evening and slept well.
We were able to stay for three nights and still did not get to see all we wanted too. It is a great location centered around several different places to visit. Our host was very informative and just easy to talk with. He had answers to all my questions. The spot is easy to access in a quiet neighborhood with a nice park just across the street for the morning walks. Until next time WWAA take care and if you come to SE Texas look us up.
Clyde is a wonderful host- kind, thoughtful, and extremely generous. He was prepared for our visit with a welcome sign and wood ready to burn in the fire ring. He even had a pile of Good Will books for our kids to look through for the rest of our journey. We really enjoyed our time with him. There is a park right across from his house that our kids really enjoyed. We even got to take a tour of his Class A, Waltzing Matilda. You will not regret stopping at Clyde's place.
Great Host + Great Site + Great Location = Super Great Boondocking. We had so much fun getting to know Clyde when we arrived we were sorry we had to get on the road so early in the morning. Excellent experience, but it hardly felt like boondocking with the electricity, water and coffee he provided. Definitely one to add to our Favorites list!
WeekendwarriorAwithaclassA was a great host. Very friendly had the opportunity to sit and talk. Shared lots of information about the area and other travels.
This was a great experience! The neighborhood is beautiful with a big park right across the street with a play structure and acres of grass, our host was friendly and we enjoyed great conversation with him and he had electric and water all set up to easily access, we will be back if we come through Newton again!
We had a great time staying with Clyde. He is a great conversationalist and an even greater writer. He takes great care of his guests and you will lack for nothing. We stayed for 2 nights and it was a perfect stop on our way west.
Thanks, Clyde, and keep writing that book so we can finally read it !
Mary & Al
I stayed 1 night passing through Iowa. WeekendWarriorAwithClassA was a warm and welcoming host. We had some great conversation! He provided a lot of local information and resources. Unfortunately, I was on a travel deadline and didn't have time to check any of them out! I would like to go back and explore more of Iowa when I have more time. Location was a quiet neighborhood in a cute little town. I was traveling alone and felt safe all night. Recommend a visit if you are in the area!
We spent a wonderful night with a very gracious host who provided lots of local information, good conversation and sea tales.
The water and electric were also greatly appreciated! We look forward to passing that way again!
We had a wonderful experience with WeekendWarrior! He was so gracious and hospitable. He gives you all the information you need for the area. Perfect spot for the night. There is even a nice park across the street. Thank you for being so great! We will definitely go back.
Super nice, very accommodating and interesting host. We all had a great time talking to him, especially our 10-yr-old! Great location across from a beautiful public park. Would stay with WeekendWarriorAwithClassA again.
Great person to spend an evening with. Go here first when in Iowa. Weekend Warrior knows everything about Iowa and has a printed copy for you. He was the friendly person and answered every question about Iowa. His home is conveniently located off of Route 80. Would definitely stay there again.
"WeekendWarriorAwithClassA" went beyond the boondocking host "call" as he provided electricity, water, refreshments and great conversation!
We enjoyed our Newton time and so appreciate our new friend who responded with great flexibility!
Joan and Dave
This host is great. One of those humans that goes out of their way to lend a hand, or a place to park to other humans. ;)He is kind, and thoughtful. There was a sign in the front yard that said Boondockers Welcome. He offered information about places in the area, and while we didn't get to spend much time together, I would definitely recommend him and his little driveway across from the park as a sweet spot to land along your travels.
We arrived to a welcome sign and very personal services this stay was short but very long in hospitality !!