Sunday, January 7, 2024

Hitch Itch?

When we were first traveling in our class A motorhome years ago, (a 40 ft.Tiffin Phaeton) we would pack up and move every few days or a week and head out to our next destination. We were so eager to travel and see the country, and campgrounds were so reasonable and available, we could do lots of spur of the moment traveling. So we did! We loved it. If we didn't like the area where we were, we'd say, "Let's head out tomorrow and plan along the way." There was lots of flexibility in our planning and spur of the moment decisions while driving down the road. Call a campground while driving and see if they had room? No problem, and they usually did. Don't like the particular campground? Pack up and leave and head out for a different one the next day. Sometimes we'd pull into a campground and it was so bad we pulled right back out and kept going!  A motorhome was a LOT easier to pack up and go in those days than a travel trailer or fifth wheel which we last had so that made it easy to change our minds.

Full time RVers, which is what we were, would nickname that urge to get back out on the road and head out, getting the "hitch itch". Eldo used to love to sing that first line of Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" song because we had the hitch itch quite often. But-after three years of busy traveling, we loved Florida's west coast so much we settled down and bought a house in Bradenton and lived there for seven years. Eldy loved his golf, Sparky loved her subbing.

Fast forward to our second interval traveling full time-- We got the hitch itch after living in crowded Bradenton/Sarasota, with all it's humidity, hurricane threats and jumble of constant newcomers heading to Florida to the land of sunshine and beaches. Eldy got the hitch itch really badly after seven years, and Sparky was right there with him. He said, "What do you think about heading out on the road again?" Sparky said, "SURE!" This time in a 40 ft. fifth wheel with a big honkin' dually, which is all we could find at the time of Covid and once again off we went as full timers. 

BUT- campground prices and availability had become much more of a logistics challenge, so we'd have to stay longer, at least a week to three weeks, juggling our special thousand Trails membership requirements, and campground availability. It had to become a much more regularly scheduled journey with regular stops as we traveled this past three years. That part, we didn't like as much. BUT--if you have the funds and can do it, you can still have "hitch itch", not be tied to specific campgrounds, move around more and travel farther, but you will still have to plan ahead. Many more people are still RVing after Covid, and campgrounds are not keeping up with enough spots and updated amenities nor are there enough campgrounds to meet the demand, so there are many more people competing for spots.

We still got the hitch itch, but now we were forced to plan WA-A-A-A-Y ahead, weeks out in advance where we were going, where we were going to stay, and how to use our Thousand Trails membership to the max. That created a similar travel plan each year, due to budget constraints of traveling to the same areas at about the same time each year. For three years, we followed a similar path--the northeast in the summer, fall in the midwest, winters in the southwest, then back to spring in the midwest. Even though we were in a somewhat predictable travel pattern, we still would find interesting things to do and branch out with short day trips looking for unique activities at each location. If you have been following our blog, you would see some repetition but also some great new things we did each year. Once we decided to come off the road, due to our accident and ages, we settled down in our hometown area of Elkhart.

Do we miss traveling in the RV? Yes, we do...BUT--there are lots of wonderful things going on in our area, and we can still travel and do little trips when we get the "hitch itch". 

Just recently, Sparky went to a "Fire and Ice Festival" in downtown Goshen, IN, the next town over from where we currently live. It was a small festival, but supposedly, there were to be over 30 ice sculptures, each made from a 300 pound block of ice, an ice throne you could sit on for photo ops, an ice sleigh as well, and fire dancers. Because Eldy is having hip troubles, he chose to have Sparky go check it out as there would be a bit of walking all around downtown.

Some of the ice sculptures were very cool! (ouch! Sorry about that one!) 

This guy was working on a frog eating a pretzel in front of Jojo's Pretzel Shop. He said he'd been coming to this festival and carving for years. 

Sparky got to sit on the ice throne for a brief moment--any longer and she would have froze her tushie off!

Entering Clementine's
Over Sparky's Christmas break (she is working at substitute teaching pretty steadily again) we took a couple of little trips to see family on both sides, and then we decided, on the spur of the moment, (yay!) to head up to South Haven, Michigan, one of our old stomping grounds years ago when we had our class A motorhome. It's a beautiful little lake town with a nice harbor, a lighthouse and a great summer or winter destination. There are lots of cool little shops downtown. There's also a beautiful RV park there, where we had stayed years ago, called South Haven Sunny Brook.  We did not drive by there, but we decided to visit Clementine's, a beautiful restaurant in an old bank building downtown South Haven.  There are two locations, one here in South Haven, the other Clementine's Too in St. Joseph, MI. The old restored bank building made into a restaurant at the South Haven location is AMAZING! Even more so with the holiday lights and decorations. Here's what you see when you enter the lobby:

Here's the bar area:

The food is delicious and the menu extensive...We love their onion ring towers--two sizes to choose from. We recommend the smaller one, it's plenty big enough for two people, but our eyes were bigger than our stomachs so we had to have the tall tower. That's a lotta onion rings! Then Sparky had to have fried zucchini, with a ranch/dill sauce.

After a wonderful meal, Sparky had to walk the pier to see the small lighthouse there. During the winter, photographers have captured amazing shots of the winter weather--huge ice slab buildups with huge waves crashing over the pier, but today, it was a calm day very little wind, so Sparky walked out to the end of the pier where the lighthouse is, and walked back. (Eldo has a bad hip so he is being careful, it was an icy, slippery walk!) And, it was COLD and a wet chilly day! We're still trying to get used to that after living in Florida for seven years. Those midwest winters were a distant memory for us, but they have returned to the forefront with a vengeance! We are living it as we write...
After the pier walk, we headed back to the car and spotted an outdoor skating rink--how fun! Sparky would try that, especially since now, a lot of rinks have plastic grown up sized "sleds" that you can push around in front of you so you won't fall down. Sparky would definitely need one of those, her balance is terrible as a 73 year old.

(Yep, and I wouldn't let her out on the rink unless she had one, firmly says E.) There was also a cool fire pit right by the rink, for warming yourself. This reminded Sparky of skating on her elementary school football field that was flooded each year in the wintertime, and where she lost her two new permanent front teeth in a fall in second grade while skating backwards. (It was so traumatic, she still talks about it 66 years later laughs Eldo.)

Cool mural near the rink
South Haven is a cool town....we really enjoyed our visit today. We love doing little day trips and venturing out once again. With the day coming to a close, we head back to Elkhart, our home for now and for awhile. Have you ever had the "hitch itch"? For us, hitch itch just looks a little different these days.....


  1. We were also Fulltiming until Covid closed the International Border. With that came extra expenses, so I returned to work. The Hitch-Itch never left either of us, but due to the high cost of living, we had to change things around by downsizing our Trailer. It will be refitted so we can get back out there.
    Like Eldo, my Hip has also caused me severe problems, where it looks like a replacement may be necessary.
    Hope to cross paths some day.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. So nice to hear from you. I really hope we can get back out there some day, it would be in something small, but for now, the "extra expenses" are keeping us from trying to find something else for awhile. I would love to have a small C but don't think we'd be able to live in it full time happily, lol! If you are ever in Northwest Indiana, let us know!


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