Everyday Life, Wild Winds, Jury Summons, Penny Slots

Can you believe we just passed the five-month mark since we moved into our RV full time? Maybe it’s just because we’re getting older, but time seems to fly out here on the road. It just reinforces our belief that it’s so important to make every day count and not put off until “Someday” the things that will fulfill us and bring us joy. We only have a limited number of days on this third rock from the sun!

That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be zip-lining or bungee-cord jumping every day. In our case, we get our joy from being parked in a place where the weather is nice, watching the sunrise (me only!), cooking and eating healthy food together, hiking the beautiful landscape, and occasionally doing some sight-seeing in the area. And when the weather changes or we get bored, we just move our house somewhere else. That brings us joy!

Right now we’re still parked in the Pilot Knob BLM LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area) in Southern California, just west of Yuma, Arizona. For the most part the weather has been beautiful with highs in the 60s and low 70s and mostly sunny skies. We’ve had one really rainy day in the month that we’ve been here, but mostly it’s been dry. Last week, however, it got extremely windy with gusts up to 50 mph, and we had to stay inside during a dust storm. I caught a few video clips through the windows and posted them to YouTube. You can hear the dust and tiny rocks hitting the side of the RV, which was definitely rocking with the wind!

But typically our days are not that exciting. I get up between 5:30 and 6:00, feed the cats, set the solar panels up to face the sunrise, and then make my coffee and have breakfast. I then get on the computer for awhile to take care of the bookkeeping or write a blog post until Andy gets up sometime around 8:00. While he’s eating breakfast, I make the bed and clean the litter box, and then we both take care of the breakfast dishes. Afterwards, we get cleaned up, and then we may go for a hike or do a little geocaching, or just sit outside on our porch to read a good book.

We use the pour-over method for coffee when we’re off-grid.

When lunchtime rolls around, we always have a big chopped salad with a cup of pinto or black beans. After the lunch dishes are done we may have errands and chores to take care of like grocery shopping or doing laundry. Every fifth or sixth day, we have to stow away all the loose items inside the RV so Andy can drive it to the nearby Chevron station to dump the waste tanks and refill our fresh water and propane. That process takes about 1-1/2 hours because there’s usually a line at the station.

On days that we don’t have chores or errands to take care of, we may do a little sightseeing or exploring in the area. We might walk across the border into Mexico for lunch. It just depends on what mood we’re in for the day.

Around 4:00 the sun starts getting a little lower in the sky and we settle down to watch the sunset. If it’s not too cold or windy we sit outside and watch, but otherwise I sit on the bed and watch it through our big back windows while Maggie (our cat) sits in my lap. It’s a nice close to the day.

After the sky fades to black, I cook dinner in the rig. It’s always vegan and it usually includes lots of fresh vegetables and whole grains, although we’ll occasionally throw in a processed black bean burger, some soy chorizo or some Tofurky Italian Sausage (so good!). After dinner, we clean the dishes and then do some reading or watch YouTube videos. We do have a television in the rig, but we very rarely use it.

We have a nightly ritual with the cats when we give them their treats–it has to be done the same way every night at about the same time. You know how cats are! Then I’m usually in bed and asleep around 9:30 while Andy stays up much later either reading or watching videos (and trying to suppress his laughter at whatever he’s watching!).

So that’s our typical day here at Pilot Knob. I know it sounds boring, but we never feel bored. There are always new rigs and new people showing up. Yesterday, some of our favorite YouTubers pulled into camp in their big Class A rigs, and we’re going to stop by and say hello to them today. The point is, we’re free to arrange our days however we want (unless of course the tanks need to be dumped!), and that freedom is what this lifestyle is all about.

But every so often, we get a reminder that we are still under some constraints that can’t be ignored. We get our mail at our address in Livingston, Texas, where the envelopes are scanned and uploaded to a website where we can view them and decide whether they can be destroyed or forwarded to us. When I checked the scans last week, I was thrilled (NOT!) to see that I had received a summons for jury duty back in Texas.

Jury summons, less than four months after establishing residency in Texas

There was a phone number on the envelope, so I called them and told them I was on the road and didn’t know when I would be back in Livingston. She told me to just write “Out of State, Return to Sender” on the envelope and send it back. I’m sure they are very accustomed to this situation since so many full time RVers register their rigs and establish their domicile in Livingston. So that was an easy-peasy resolution.

Last Friday we decided to treat ourselves to breakfast at the nearby Quechan Resort and Casino. On Monday through Friday they have a breakfast buffet for $5.95. We had pancakes and French toast, oatmeal, roasted potatoes, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit and coffee, and ate until we were stuffed as this was both breakfast and lunch for us. Of course they had all the usual breakfast meats which we avoided, as well as pastries and muffins which we just skipped.

The Quechan Resort and Casino just west of Yuma, AZ

After our meal we signed up for the players card and got $5 in free play. We found some penny slot machines which actually allowed you to only bet a penny, and with the $5 in free play, I actually walked away with a couple extra dollars in my pocket. Score!

We went to Starbucks last week to use the wi-fi, but theirs was so horribly slow that we ended up going to the Yuma library instead. The main library is a very nice facility with lots of natural light and reasonably fast wi-fi. Unfortunately we got there about a half hour before they closed so we didn’t get to enjoy it for long. I’m sure we’ll visit again–after all, it’s tax season and in the next few weeks I’ll be spending at least a full day with Turbotax and I’ll need a good internet connection.

Inside the main library in Yuma AZ

Other than that, we’ve just been grocery shopping, doing a little laundry and reading a lot. No significant issues with the rig this week (knock on wood!). Life is good!!

Thanks for taking time to read our blog, and be sure to leave a comment if you have questions! You can also follow us on Instagram at Instagram.com/JustCallUsNomads to keep up with us between blog posts.

Safe travels everyone! Find your freedom and make the most of every day!!

Naskila Gaming Casino, Free Breakfast Buffet

Yesterday (Wednesday) we decided to do something a little different. When searching TripAdvisor.com for things to do in the Livingston area, I found the Naskila Gaming Casino ranked at #2 for the area. We’re not big gamblers, but we do enjoy occasionally playing the penny slots purely for entertainment.

I did some checking into the casino online and found that they have a special promotion on Wednesday mornings, when seniors aged 55 and over can enjoy the breakfast buffet for free. Now, that was talking our language! Since yesterday was our final week to be in the area, we decided it was time to give them a visit.

Naskila Gaming is located on the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation about 15 minutes east of Livingston. It’s a small operation as far as Indian casinos go, but it’s located in a beautiful spot in the pine trees off Highway 190.

We got there just after 9:00 AM and found plenty of parking available. The casino has a rustic, log cabin design, and it looks like they are in the process of expanding one of the dining areas.

Naskila Gaming Casino near Livingston, Texas

We assumed that we would need to sign up for a players card to get the free breakfast, so we checked in at the front desk. We were told that we did not, in fact, need to have a players card for the breakfast, but if we wanted to sign up for one, we would get $5 in free play on the machines. Well, who would pass up a deal like that?

After getting our players cards, we went directly to the Patio Buffet. We were expecting something along the lines of a continental breakfast with pastries and juice, but they actually had a full breakfast buffet. There was hot oatmeal and grits. There was fresh fruit–canteloupe, honeydew melon, pineapple. There was biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs, western scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and potatoes. There was yogurt and granola. There were muffins, and there was an assortment of breads that you could toast yourself. Coffee and juice were included.

Enjoying the free senior buffet at Naskila Gaming

The food was all good, as was the service. We both enjoyed our meal thoroughly, and of course we ate too much. Can’t say we didn’t get our money’s worth! We left a $5 tip for the staff and then headed out to try our luck on the machines.

We each allowed ourselves $10 to play on the machines, plus the $5 in free play that the casino provided. Since I’m the most comfortable with figuring out new technology, Andy let me go first while he watched over my shoulder as I figured out how to download the $5 free play to the players card. I chose a penny machine that had a 30¢ minimum bet (why do they even call them penny machines??), and it wasn’t kind to me at all. It didn’t take long for me to go through my $10 plus the $5 from the casino.

Andy found a penny machine that had a lower minimum bet (I think it was 25¢), and his machine was a lot more generous. He played for about 20 minutes until he was ahead by $5.05, and then he cashed out.

So, we wound up spending $9.95 for a huge breakfast and a fun morning of entertainment. One huge advantage of this casino is that they keep the smokers tucked away in a separate room, so we didn’t have to breathe second-hand smoke like at most other casinos (cruise ships are the worst!!). Also, this casino does not serve any kind of alcohol, but coffee and soft drinks are free at self-service stations located around the perimeter of the gaming area. The place is clean and spacious, and the staff are friendly and helpful.

Naskila Gaming in locked in a legal battle with the State of Texas over their right to operate their casino the same way as other Indian tribes in the country do. Here is a link to some background information on the issue, but as is usually the case, it’s all about the money. The article is pretty interesting, and explains that their slots are actually bingo machines. I did notice the little bingo display on the machines when I was playing yesterday, but didn’t pay any attention to it. Anyway, we hope that the little casino is allowed to continue operating and that the State of Texas backs off.

So if you’re in the area on a Wednesday morning and you’re 55 or older (and you don’t have a gambling addiction), you should definitely check out the Naskila Gaming Casino for their free breakfast buffet and a little entertainment.

On Tuesday we received the final document that we’ve been waiting for–the title to the RV. We’re in the process of planning our route to travel west across Texas and into New Mexico next week. It looks like it’s already starting to get pretty cold, at least at night, in the higher elevations, but we’re hoping to be able to spend some time around Santa Fe before it gets too chilly. We’ll see how it goes.

Gut-Check Tour – Day 6

This entry is part of a series recounting our experiences on a two-week RV trip we took to southern Mississippi, Alabama and northern Florida. The goal of this trip was to test ourselves, our two cats, and our rig to make sure we all have what it takes to be full-timers. While we posted highlights of our trip on Instagram and Facebook, these entries are some behind-the-scenes notes on our trip and experiences.

Thursday, April 12, 2018 – Cajun RV Park, Biloxi, Mississippi

We had another fun day today.

For once the cats didn’t wake me up at 4:30 AM like they have been. Instead my phone beeped at 6:30 AM when Mark sent me a text message. Nice to get to sleep a little later.

I had a breakfast of fruit and nuts with coffee. I did some cleaning in the RV and then we took turns taking hot showers in the park’s bathhouses. It was a nice perk for staying here.

We fixed a lunch of chopped salad and pinto beans. After cleaning the dishes we headed out to visit some casinos.

We parked at the Golden Nugget and went to that casino first. We signed up for players’ cards hoping to get some free play, but they require you to accumulate 100 points on your card (spend about $40) to get the $10 free play dollars.

We decided to just find some penny slots to play. Andy found a machine while I was still looking around, and since he didn’t know what he was doing he blew through a dollar in 5 plays (he was playing 20 lines instead of 1). I showed him how to play 1 penny at a time, and on his second dollar he won over $10. Lucky devil!

I played $10 and walked away with $1. But we both got free beers although I did tip the waiter $4.

Next we walked to Harrah’s and played $1 each there, and neither of us won anything. We signed up for their players card but they also did not offer free play.

After that we drove back up Beach Boulevard and parked at Hard Rock Casino. We went inside and immediately found a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop, so we had vegan ice cream.

We decided not to sign up for the players card at Hard Rock but just played our dollar each. We both wound up winning money, Andy more than me. I put in $5 (smallest bill I had) and walked away with $7.22. Andy put in $1 and walked away with over $4.

We came back to the RV and I fixed dinner while Andy sat outside reading. I made Wild Rodeo Salad with quinoa, and we ate it with blue corn chips and flour tortillas. After cleaning up the dinner dishes we walked several loops around the park for exercise.

The rest of the evening was spent in the RV. I did some route planning for tomorrow so we know where we’re going.

It looks like there’s going to be bad weather on Saturday, heavy rain with a risk of tornadoes. Not looking forward to that but glad it’s not a travel day.

Planning to pull out of here around 11 AM tomorrow to head to River Plantation, an Escapees Park in Summerdale, AL.