KC, Mo and the Theresa Fest

KC, Mo and the “Theresa Fest”

We spent the last week of September and the first weeks of October in Kansas City, Missouri.   This was a transition period, as Hector was winding down his work.   At the same time we got to spend lots of time with a very special friend, Theresa.  Hector dubbed it the “Theresa Fest”.

Theresa was a fabulous hostess and made sure that we didn’t miss some of the most special sights of this lovely city.  Even though we haven’t lived in the same city with her for over 25 years, we found that we could pick up where we left off.  It’s funny how that happens with some people.

Kansas City was kind of a surprise for us, bigger than we expected and very interesting.  Of course, having a good friend to help you navigate an unfamiliar city always makes a big difference.  The city has much to offer; many signature buildings, including buildings with intricate tile from Spain and the beautiful Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, large established trees, lots of historic and other sights to see.  We went to a wonderful arts fair in the Plaza section of town and visited several art galleries during the first Friday event in October.  We also visited Amigoni Urban Winery, a trendy winery located in a historic telegraph newspaper building.

Some top sights I recommend are (in no particular order)

The World War I Museum and Liberty Memorial – this is the only WWI museum in the country with a huge collection of artifacts from the war, timelines which detail the progress of the war as well as other significant happenings of the time, and a huge tower with a beautiful view of the city.  It’s depressing, but very interesting.

The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum – this was the first presidential library as it was Truman’s idea to provide a space where information about each presidency and about the significant events of that era could be displayed.  Great museum, lots happened during his administration!







The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – a spectacular museum with ancient collections from the Near East, Egypt, Greece and Rome, China and Africa as well as contemporary art, and a sculpture garden.  You should allow one full day to really enjoy it.


City Market – this is a HUGE farmers market near downtown.  There is an outdoor component as well as some indoor businesses that open when the market is open – on weekends starting in the Spring and ending in the Fall.  What we loved was the variety of foods;  all kinds of produce, a diversity of bulk spices, meats, honey, jams and jellies, breads, AND many of the indoor markets specialized in authentic ethnic foods – there was an Italian one, a Middle Eastern one, a Caribbean one.  We went there on two weekends and bought tons of food (including too many different types of jelly).




















The Blue Room at the Jazz Museum – we had a fabulous evening listening to the Charles Williams Quartet and Lisa Henry.  This is one of the top jazz music spots in town.  Another great club is The Phoenix Jazz Club where we heard some great Blues music from Brother Bagman.











Another place not to miss in Kansas City is Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ restaurant.  This was included in Anthony Bourdain’s list of top 13 restaurants to eat at before you die.  It’s located in a working gas station, which also has a quickie mart.  The atmosphere is fun and different, the ribs are incredible and they have the most fabulous French fries I’ve eaten in quite awhile.

We had a such great time with Theresa, hanging out at her house, seeing her two now (almost) grown sons again and meeting some of her interesting friends.  It was hard to leave but we wanted to move on to a quieter place to end our “transition month” and celebrate Hector’s birthday and our anniversary.  So on we went to see the autumn leaves in the Ozark mountains, with a stop in Springfield, MO to visit the area where Hector lived when his family first arrived from Cuba.  Thank you Theresa for a memorable stay.

~ Brenda

Wisdom and Learnings from Escapade

“This is not camping, this is a lifestyle.”

“There is no “right way” to be a fulltimer, there are many different approaches to full timing”.

Quotes from seasoned fulltimers leading some of the seminars.

Many of the Escapade seminars had some level of focus on safety, which is an area we were not as well versed in as we should have been.  Three major categories stood out for me; fire safety, tire safety and weight management.

Fire Safety

We learned that a motorhome fire can spread in as little as twenty seconds and that there are multiple components of the motor home that are susceptible to catching on fire.   The important thing is to be as prepared as possible.  I highly recommend that anyone considering getting an RV become well informed on this issue. My workshop was led by “Mac the Fire Guy”, an ex-fireman who travels around educating RVers on this matter.  His website contains very valuable information.

Tire Safety

Tire safety is the second area that I felt was really worthwhile learning more about.  One thing I never knew is that tires have the date that they were manufactured either on the outside or inside rim.  This is particularly important for RVers as RV tires may sit around in tire stores for longer periods than car tires.  Apparently, people have unknowingly purchased tires that are a year or even older.  Tires are one of the top four areas in a motorhome where fires can ignite.  In order to reduce this possibility, tire maintenance should include keeping tires clean of debris and checking their temperature frequently whenever you are driving during very hot weather.

Weight Management

We had Island Girl weighed for the first time.  We weigh almost 15 tons!  This is definitely not camping.  Island Girl is a bit overweight, but not as much as we feared.  And we are getting rid of stuff as we speak, tweaking and re-organizing our space as we go.  It’s important to know your weight, as this can definitely affect the performance of your rig.  In addition, your tire pressure should be adjusted in accordance with the weight of each axle (these are weighed separately).

Other interesting seminars included information on traveling to Alaska and Mexico in an RV, LED lighting, using natural products as alternatives for commercial cleaning products (I love this!), other areas of safety, general maintenance tips, useful information on the lifestyle and others.  SO much to learn.

Hmmm … Chili

The seminars also validated a lot of the things we learned over the last years through reading books and blogs.  Escapade also offered some fun activities, such as a chili cook-off, line dancing classes, a dance party and a pet parade which Angel participated in.

Last, but certainly not least, we also met many wonderful people, some of which have been fulltiming for over ten and over twenty years.  It made us feel even better about having made this choice.

~ Brenda


11 years later ...

September was a whirlwind.  We left Denver earlier than we anticipated for several reasons, one of which was to attend the Escapees RV Club annual event, Escapade, in Sedalia, Missouri.  We moved out of our house, moved into Island Girl, handled last minute errands, said good-byes to some friends and family, and I concluded my work at Morris Animal Foundation.  Meanwhile, we had to have some last minute (minor) repair work on Island Girl, and a week before leaving I started to feel some cold sensitivity in one of my molars.   A visit to the dentist determined that I needed a root canal, which I was able to get exactly one day before leaving Denver.


Walmart, sleep free!


We stopped overnight in Topeka, Kansas on the way to Sedalia, where we dry camped at a Walmart (our first free Walmart overnight!).  We also had a fabulous Thai dinner in Topeka (who knew?).

Escapade was VERY interesting.  We attended over twenty seminars and purchased very useful items at the vendor fair (including new fire extinguishers and smoke detectors).

During our stay at Escapade, Island Girl developed a problem with our access to city water  – the water inlet valve broke.  Fortunately, we had water in our fresh water tank and could use our water pump to continue to have access to water.  Hector was able to order the part online, then, with support and guidance from fellow full timers, replaced the part.  This was the first (but certainly not the last) successful DIY repair on our journey.

After Sedalia, we drove to Kansas City, where Hector could work remotely and also to re-connect with an old friend, Theresa.  I ended the month by taking two four-hour RV driving lessons, during which I drove for 90 (!!!) miles.  The first day I almost broke down and cried when I realized I was about to drive this giant vehicle.  Then, while driving, I managed to tense every single muscle in my body so when I stopped driving and relaxed, I almost fainted. The second day was much better.  SUCCESS!  I believe that it’s really important for traveling partners to both know how to drive their RV.

Overall, a somewhat hectic but very productive month.

~ Brenda

Things we Look Forward to

Just before leaving Denver, I spent some time thinking about these things that we are really looking forward to (in no particular order):

  • Beautiful scenery – spending more time outdoors
  • Meeting new people – not just other RVers, but different people in the different towns we visit
  • Not being in a hurry – I thought of this as I was running around trying to get things done
  • Exploring new towns – There are many interesting places in this country, and we look forward to not only seeing them, but finding the next place that we would like to live in once we finish our adventure
  • Learning new things – Not just about the motor home, but other areas that we’re not familiar with at this time
  • Sitting by the campfire – SO relaxing
  • Being more active – Last year, I had three foot surgeries and was not in great shape when I started.  I definitely look forward to becoming more fit.
  • Developing our creative side  – Hector has his photography, I’ll be exploring writing, dancing, making natural skin products and maybe some new interests.
  • Wildlife – we both love animals and will look for opportunities to see more of them
  • Winter in the south, summer in the north – enough said
  • Farmer’s markets – fresh, seasonal produce, fresh breads, homemade jams and jellies, free range eggs, grass fed beef and local specialties, YUM!

~ Brenda

Welcome to our Blog!


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http://www.islandgirlwalkabout.wordpress.com  HAS MOVED to a self hosted site.

Future updates and all content on this blog can be found at http://www.islandgirlwalkabout.com.  See you there!




We are Brenda and Hector Lopez and have been “on walkabout” since October, 2012 traveling our beautiful continent in our Class A Motorhome “Island Girl” with our wonderful dog Angel.

We welcome you to come along on our journey and will share travel experiences along with Hector’s beautiful photography.  Along the way, we’ll include some “RV stuff” – information about RV’s and the fulltime RV lifestyle for those who may be interested in it, already doing it or just curious about it.

We are very grateful for all we’ve learned through reading other RVers’ blogs and hope that some of our experiences are interesting and useful to others.

2013-05-14 at 09-11-08Sign up as a follower to receive an e-mail for each of our new posts.  We absolutely love to get comments, so please let us hear from you.

~ Brenda and Hector