The Garden City KOA was our home for a couple of days at Bear Lake. Lately we have been staying at a lot of KOA’s solely for their conveniences, even though I continue to whine about how high priced they seem to be, even the bare bones versions we have seen. But the Garden City KOA is one of the nicer KOA’s you’ll find anywhere. I would compare it to the Petaluma, CA KOA as far as being a total family campground, lots of activities on site, and it is right next to Bear Lake. During this short stay we took a drive up into Idaho and to the north end of the lake, it was not much to write home about. We also took a quick scouting trip into Logan, UT to scope out our next stop. On the drive through Logan Canyon (quite scenic in some spots) we came upon a cool spring, “Rick’s Spring”, which is actually a part of the Logan River.
Traveland RV Park was our next stop in Logan, UT. Besides doing the necessary chores of the full-time RV enthusiast, we found a nice hiking trail (The Windcaves Trail) in Logan Canyon that took us up the mountain to a windcave and what is touted as a triple arch. For me, the triple arch looked more like a large cave with several holes in the roof, but hey, if they want to call it a triple arch, then triple arch it is!
Utah fun over, it was time to head into the Nevada desert (in the summertime?!?!? YUK!). We overnighted at the Winnemucca KOA, then on to Minden and the Silver City RV Resort. Surprisingly, this close to the 4th of July celebrations and the impending Oak Ridge Boys playing at one of the local casinos, we were able to get space for a few days. We just kinda hung out during this stop, but did get a chance to visit with one of my fellow former co-workers and his wife, Forrest and Nadine, who happen to live in the area (Forrest was one of our primary pilots we used back in my narc dope spotting days. And he is a damn fine pilot I might add…). We also made a day trip into South Shore (Lake Tahoe) in a feeble attempt to find somewhere to park the beast for our niece’s wedding. Obviously and of course, not an RV space to be had and not a one opportunity to boondock anywhere close. Oh well, Carson City is only a half hour drive from the wedding…
Wanting to escape the heat we chose to head south and back to the Mammoth Lakes area. And, as that guy Murphy was still actively pumping out legislation (Murphy’s Law, get it?!?), we ran smack dab into the Marina Wildfire at Mono Lake. A short delay and we got escorted through the fire and smoke, onward to Glass Creek. We dry camped at the Glass Creek NFS campground again, this time around with the aid of our recently installed solar panel system. The solar panels worked like a champ, even in the thick trees, no generator use except for a quick run of the microwave oven. During our stay here we did some Jeep/OHV trails (the camphost said there were about 2,200 miles of such trails all over the area). Since we’ve already done the Rainbow Falls and Devil’s Post Pile things, we settled for checking out the Hot Creek and Convict Lake areas. The weather was bee-a-you-tee-full here, with just a touch of rain one day. The campground was pretty full most days, being a huge OHV destination in the cool of the summer. The only thing we had to worry about was Woody getting bit while chasing the little chipmunks all over the place—currently the Bubonic Plague is problematic in the area.
After 6 nights it was time to head back north to the Reno area. On our way to Mammoth I got hit 3 times with the amber check engine light with simultaneous red “brake air” lights. I did not have any loss of air, the engine did not cut power, but it did happen 3 times going over the hill (4,000’ to almost 9,000’ elevation). So I found a Cummins service center in Sparks and scheduled for a plug-in diagnostic on the 5th, hopefully to only find out I got one of those famous gremlins wreaking havoc on my computer components. We found space available (4th of July weekend, no less!) at the Boomtown KOA and holed up there until my appointment on the 5th at Cummins.
In the meantime, more exciting news came our way. Keep in mind, we are a bit short of Medicare age. The county of Sonoma had forced us many moons ago to drop my wife Jeanne from my county retirees health plan due to excessive cost. But all was not lost. As we started out as full-timers, we began with a domicile in South Dakota. Actually found a PPO individual plan for Jeanne that was not too hard to swallow; $2,500 deductible, with an HSA, for just over $300 per month, through Coventry One. Way mo’ betta than what the county wanted to keep her covered. Well, that held out for about 7 months…until Jeanne got her first health insurance cancellation notice from the company, specifically naming the ACA as the cause of their discontinuing to offer individual PPO plans. She researched South Dakota plans and found there was not a lot of choice in viable replacement plans. But all was not lost. We, as it works out, are members of the Escapees RV Club, based in Livingston, TX. Jeanne researched Texas and found a lot more choices for health insurance and found a similar PPO plan to that from which she was just cancelled, through Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas. It had a $6,000 deductible, but otherwise was similar and was just short of $400 per month. So the decision was made, we became official Texans via the Escapees RV Club, and Jeanne’s health insurance was settled. Well, that held out for about 6 months…until she got her second health insurance cancellation notice, again specifically naming the ACA as the cause for their cessation of offering individual PPO plans. But all was not lost (is this getting old yet?). More research and Jeanne found Kyle at rverinsurance.com who specializes in assisting full time RV folks with insurance needs. He found her a Texas based EPO plan through United Health Care, similar to the last plan in deductible and HSA, but this one was about $500 per month. Still way mo’ betta than my county cost would have been, so, sign us up! Well, that held out for about 6 months! Letter number 3, you’re cancelled because we no longer will offer individual EPOs. Isn’t life just GRAND! So now we research again. But all is not lost. Jeanne has come across a new idea in health care. She found an outfit called Altrua Health Care Sharing Ministry. It is a religious based system, specifically not health insurance, but qualifies in all the government red tape as insurance as far as not having to pay penalties for being uninsured. There are several health care sharing ministries in operation now, but this one differs from some of the others in that your “premium” is actually a “donation” or “contribution” that goes into an escrow account. Members approved health costs are then paid from the escrow account. And the “Gold” plan with a $3,000 deductible for Jeanne as an individual was going to fang us for our “contribution” in the huge sum of $270 per month. It is a long story to explain coverage, if anyone wants to check it out I believe it is at www.Altruahealthshare.org. We are leaning hard toward this system, if anyone has any info to offer, good or bad, don’t hesitate to comment on this blog entry. Oh, by the way. My county retiree health insurance (out of state PPO through Blue Cross) just went up for me, to a staggering $800 per month, out of MY pocket. If I had chosen to keep Jeanne covered under the county retiree plan, our out-of-pocket expense for that plan, the only plan offered under our circumstances, would be a whopping $2,000 PER MONTH!!!!!! OUCH!
Enough whining, good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow…and Happy Independence Day to all, thanks to all that served to create our Land of the Free, because of the brave.