RV LIFE Podcast

Journeys of the Heart: Book Author Unveils her RV Life and Literary Tales

March 27, 2024 Dan & Patti Hunt
Journeys of the Heart: Book Author Unveils her RV Life and Literary Tales
RV LIFE Podcast
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RV LIFE Podcast
Journeys of the Heart: Book Author Unveils her RV Life and Literary Tales
Mar 27, 2024
Dan & Patti Hunt

As I sit behind the mic solo this week, I can't help but feel inspired by our guest, Kathy Bishop, also known as Mary Kathleen McKenna, who brings her unique tapestry of life experiences to the RV Life Podcast. With Kathy's stories, the essence of self-discovery blooms like wildflowers along an open road, painting a vivid picture of how her adoption before birth became a defining part of her narrative, both in life and her literary works.

Our conversation weaves through Kathy's professional pivot from special education to the aging with  disabilities, revealing the unexpected turns life can present. As she shares her RV escapades, you can't help but chuckle at the memories of her first driving experiences and nod in appreciation for the learning curves we all encounter. Kathy's journey with her husband of 39 years illustrates the enriching bond RVing can create, proving that a life in motion is a life well-lived.

Mary Kathleen McKenna's books can be found on Amazon. com
or  her Website
Granny Rose's adventurous spirit isn't just confined to Kathy's books, from poignant tales of grief and renewal to the lighter moments of mishaps at the gas pump, Kathy's stories resonate with anyone who's yearned for a deeper connection to their own journey. Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a curious dreamer, this podcast episode is a heartfelt reminder of the expansive community and personal growth that awaits on the RV path.

Looking for a new RV you can't miss this History Making Event
Music City Motorhome Expo VIP Experience  YouTube Playlist (33 videos)
National Indoor RV Centers

Thank you for listening, we would love to hear from you, leave a comment or question here on the podcast or on our social media channels.
 RV LIFE Podcast Instagram or RV LIFE Podcast Facebook 

Special Discounts Codes: Click Link & Use Code

RV LIFE Pro Click the link for 25% off
• Motorhome Tires: $50 discount FIND MY INSTALLER
•Thousand Trail Membership Call/Text Membership Specialist Warren & Sharon Lewis 804-366-0798
CLEAR2O
Open Road Fuel Card save on Diesel Fuel
LITO - Luxury In The Outdoors
Open Roads Innovative Tolling Solutions
Toll pass, all 48 state & customer support
Open Road Resorts Mention RV LIFE Podcast
National Vehicle great place to sell your RV
Harvest Hosts Boondockers Welcome
Code: HUNT20 for 20% off
Sponsors
National Indoor RV Centers
6 great ...

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

As I sit behind the mic solo this week, I can't help but feel inspired by our guest, Kathy Bishop, also known as Mary Kathleen McKenna, who brings her unique tapestry of life experiences to the RV Life Podcast. With Kathy's stories, the essence of self-discovery blooms like wildflowers along an open road, painting a vivid picture of how her adoption before birth became a defining part of her narrative, both in life and her literary works.

Our conversation weaves through Kathy's professional pivot from special education to the aging with  disabilities, revealing the unexpected turns life can present. As she shares her RV escapades, you can't help but chuckle at the memories of her first driving experiences and nod in appreciation for the learning curves we all encounter. Kathy's journey with her husband of 39 years illustrates the enriching bond RVing can create, proving that a life in motion is a life well-lived.

Mary Kathleen McKenna's books can be found on Amazon. com
or  her Website
Granny Rose's adventurous spirit isn't just confined to Kathy's books, from poignant tales of grief and renewal to the lighter moments of mishaps at the gas pump, Kathy's stories resonate with anyone who's yearned for a deeper connection to their own journey. Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a curious dreamer, this podcast episode is a heartfelt reminder of the expansive community and personal growth that awaits on the RV path.

Looking for a new RV you can't miss this History Making Event
Music City Motorhome Expo VIP Experience  YouTube Playlist (33 videos)
National Indoor RV Centers

Thank you for listening, we would love to hear from you, leave a comment or question here on the podcast or on our social media channels.
 RV LIFE Podcast Instagram or RV LIFE Podcast Facebook 

Special Discounts Codes: Click Link & Use Code

RV LIFE Pro Click the link for 25% off
• Motorhome Tires: $50 discount FIND MY INSTALLER
•Thousand Trail Membership Call/Text Membership Specialist Warren & Sharon Lewis 804-366-0798
CLEAR2O
Open Road Fuel Card save on Diesel Fuel
LITO - Luxury In The Outdoors
Open Roads Innovative Tolling Solutions
Toll pass, all 48 state & customer support
Open Road Resorts Mention RV LIFE Podcast
National Vehicle great place to sell your RV
Harvest Hosts Boondockers Welcome
Code: HUNT20 for 20% off
Sponsors
National Indoor RV Centers
6 great ...

Speaker 1:

If I had a nickel for every person who told me I would love to do that, I would be rich. I'm Patti Hunt, with my incredible husband, dan Hunt, and you're listening to the RV Life Podcast. Our guest today not only has said I would love to hit the road and go RVing, she wrote not one, but three books, and the main character lives in an RV. Now, as you could hear, I am doing the podcast solo today. Dan has been dealing with some health issues that we'll share a little more detail soon, but for now, just know he's doing well. He just needs some rest. All is well here. We will continue to do the podcast each and every week and we are going to continue working to help our community and the RV industry in any way we can. We want to thank our listeners and supporters for the concern, but again, know that Dan is on the way to health. He just needs some rest, and that's what we're going to do Now. That sound means it's time for today's fun fact, and the fun fact is brought to you by Open Road Resorts. They have four amazing locations Two are in Montana, one is in Idaho and one is in Texas. Today's fun fact in 2022, a survey said that half of our veers were between the age of 18 and 44, and 18% of our viewers are 65 or older. Now I fall somewhere in between those two, without giving away my age, but 18% will certainly want to hear today's guest. For sure this will be a great topic for everyone, but those 18 percent will certainly enjoy it. So let's talk more about open road resorts. If you're looking to go to yellowstone national park, they have a campground called red rock rv park and that's outside the western gate. But if you're looking to go to Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake, you can experience that through either Poulsen Flathead Lake, KOA Holiday or Poulsen Motor Coach Resort. It is for Class A's only and it is rated one of the top 10 motor coach resorts in the country. Now I can't wait to get our guest on today.

Speaker 1:

But first I want to talk about something very, very important, and that is making sure, as you're RVing and you are connecting your water to the different campground water sources, that your water coming into your RV is fresh and clean. And I know no better way to get fresh, clean water than by using Clear 2.0. You could go to clear2ocom and find out more about the Clear 2.0 products. We love our three filter inline system. It has made such a difference for us. Now, I did talk last week to Keith and Barb. They are the owners of the company. Keith has invented all of the amazing products and they are offering our listeners 15% off only till the end of March. So you have a few days left to get 15% off on products. Now let's get in.

Speaker 1:

Today's guest is one of the most impressive women I have had the pleasure of meeting. This is not just because she holds three advanced degrees, is able to put seven letters after her name and has spent some 40 years working tirelessly in service of the aging population, but what impresses me even more is her personal life. She took a leap of faith. She did something totally out of the box, totally different, and decided to put herself out there and write not one book, not two, but as of this month, march 2024, she now has three books Her series Women with Wisdom. Mary Kathleen McKenna is her pen name and we're excited. Now I'm going to call her Kathy Bishop. I want to welcome you to the RV Life Podcast.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. It's a joy to be here and it's been exciting to meet you Adds to our journeys together. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely Now. I did start by saying your name is Kathy Bishop. We said Mary Kathleen. We got to clear some of this stuff up for our listeners. Why the different names?

Speaker 2:

I was adopted before I was born and it was not until my middle years that I wanted to do some research. Actually it was health related. I wanted to make decisions of how I could make some good health choice decisions, including medications. And my mother when I say mother and father, it's my wonderful parents who raised me and gave me the life that I have today. But my mother gave me my names in the hospital and so with those names, or at least the last name only, I had some friends who had some experience with doing research and helped me actually found very quickly, within a few weeks, once I started, my biological mother and then, shortly after that, my biological father. I found at the time that I was Mary McKenna. As soon as my parents who adopted me came to pick me up in the hospital, they changed my name to Kathleen Marie Bishop. I did not find out until six years ago, while I knew that there was a time for finalization. About six years ago I found out that legally I was Mary McKenna for one year and I've also had the opportunity to meet half sisters who have welcomed me also into the family.

Speaker 2:

I was raised an only child, child and as I more and more added to my journey as a writer and continue my passion of learning about ancient women's history. It felt at this point in my life which I'm older than you are that it was a good time to go to a pen name. In my writing I keep using Kathy Bishop because from my first book I had people who followed me and always wanted to know when's the next one, when's the next one. So when I changed the name, I wanted to keep the AKA, so they knew it was the same author. So I thought it was time to honor both parts of me and both sets of parents that gave me life, and I was meant to be where I've been throughout my life.

Speaker 1:

Well, thank you, and I always love my listeners to really get to know our guest and that really gives us a deep dive into who you are. And in your book, I know, in the beginning it said you were adopted before you were born and what an amazing story. So Mary Kathleen McKenna and I'm holding up a book and we'll post it on social media. That's what it says is the author, but you're also Kathy Bishop and Kathleen Bishop, phd. So a lot of different names. I just want people to know who you are. But let's dive in. So you've worked tirelessly with the aging population and that in itself is an incredible journey to have done that. First of all, what led you to that kind of work?

Speaker 2:

Well, I actually started out as a special education teacher In my career. I was laid off from the teaching but in the same very large state organization, was hired back first as an ICF program manager and then into staff development and training where I really found my love of what I wanted to be doing. And the director of this very large agency came to me and said there is a program on aging and healthy aging. It's a week-long program. We'd like you to go and come back and tell us what we need to know Now. Understand the people with disabilities, especially who lived in institutions, weren't expected to live much past their 20s or 30s, weren't expected to live much past their 20s or 30s.

Speaker 2:

Fell in love with the topic of aging. Was asked at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in upstate New York to come and sit on a board to advise them how to develop a program on aging and disabilities. Again fell in love with the topic. Was often asked to go out and present and work with a team. And decided to go back to school for my PhD, Not because, well, I love school, I love learning. So it was an opportunity to go in a whole new direction and a whole life I've been able to travel nationally, internationally. I have been fortunate to have a niche in a world there's very little expertise, so I'm about one in a hundred that has the expertise and it's given me opportunities I never expected.

Speaker 1:

And they are incredible. I was a teacher myself and I worked a lot with special education students and I'd love that, but let's be real, it is a challenging place to be. After 20 years I left, I decided to take a very early retirement, working with the aging, especially with disabilities Another very challenging. It takes a certain kind of person to work with people like that. So I'm honored to have you on and to know you, because, yes, there is a special person there. But then where did this idea of writing a book come from? Where? Where, how'd that happen?

Speaker 2:

I've always been a reader. I've always been a reader. I've always been a writer. As I go back and go through old papers to try to throw them away, I'll find things I've written and I sound like the same person then that I am now and it also is connected to. At the time I was searching for my parents. I also was becoming involved in Matilda Jocelyn Gage Foundation, for example.

Speaker 2:

Matilda was the third son to Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and I'm fortunate to count as a friend Dr Sally Roche Wagner, who was the person who did very first PhD in women's studies in the country, and so she and I became close friends. But even more I felt connected to Matilda Jocelyn Gage and there were some writings, personal writings. I was able to see and realize that she was writing about history I knew nothing about. So I thought I need to help restore women's history, kind of a legacy going back to Matilda Jocelyn Gage, who is back in the first, what we consider in the US the first suffrage movement. So I started doing some research, thinking it'll take me about as long as it takes me to find my parents, to find the written history.

Speaker 2:

Well, here I am, many, many, many years later still finding. There's a wealth of history and you can look at any piece of property. When I did, one of my first book signings and talks was at an RV camping weekend for one of the associations, and as the women were coming, there were also there were couples there. It wasn't just women, but they said are you aware of how many women RV solo? And I met a whole group of them, still meet them, and so it fascinated me. There's a whole history about women and RVing that a lot of people don't know about either.

Speaker 1:

You know, and so I love your story. I love reading your book. It's just, I'm inspired, it's cool, but I have to say this is the RV Life podcast, so I needed a connection here and there it is. You, so you, your. Your book goes into the fact that the main character was an RVer. I don't want to give the whole thing away. I'm going to let you kind of add that in what made you decide to talk about RVing, and then we're going to talk about your journey into RVing yourself because you are an RVer.

Speaker 2:

And, I have to add, I am not a woman who RVs alone. All of this has also been with the support and the enjoyment of my husband, with me doing the RVing together, and it's been something that has brought us even closer together over the many years and we'll be 39 years we've been married this summer coming up.

Speaker 1:

Wow, congratulations. I got to congratulate you on that one.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. I knew I wanted to write a book. I always come up with titles first At that point. I wasn't thinking of a series at that point. It's grown into that, of course. But so women whistling up the South Wind is really connected to my the history of women. Sailors were afraid of women who whistled and so bad luck to have them on board, and they felt. They felt that women whistled up a storm and did that intentionally and had the power to do it, and so my first character.

Speaker 1:

Like literally a storm, though like literally a rainstorm.

Speaker 2:

Literally a storm Okay.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I just want to be clear yes, go ahead.

Speaker 2:

No, literally a storm. That's what sailors believed would happen. And my first character my characters always continue to grow as I write. They just grow more and I learn more about them and it's almost like they talk to me as I'm writing, especially when I'm really in a good writing mood. So my first character, anna Marie Golding I knew I wanted her to be, have been widowed.

Speaker 2:

I knew this was going to be a book about loss and gains and reviving life and I want it to be a women, that everything symbolically is ancient women's history and I wanted three stages of women's lives because I wanted important for women to know and any reader to know you're not alone and we can always make new connections. And so I really started. I thought at first a train or in a car. I couldn't think of any way other than RVing, that you could adapt pets along the way which Anna Marie does, that you could have a very older woman stow a board and you could have a teenager who's a pregnant, runaway teenager. I could think of no other way. And, by the way, I didn't start out knowing these were the characters. They came.

Speaker 1:

Right, right. So you were trying to figure out a way that, okay, what's the mode of transportation they're going to take? Now, had you been RVing before you came up with this idea, okay?

Speaker 2:

Never in my life.

Speaker 1:

Wow. So what made you then go in an RV?

Speaker 2:

Well, because I think writers, unless they're writing such science fiction, that's not related to our world and life. I like my writing to be real, I want readers to connect to it, I want readers to think and ask questions because of it and ask questions because of it. And I wanted especially to show that there could be joy in movement, joy in being to have the freedom to just go and to have new adventures on your own and you could rebuild. So my husband, who's always enthusiastic especially about any motor vehicle of any kind, I said we need to go to some shows. By the way, I had picked the model Southwind before I knew anything about RVing, because of the name, because the Southwind is the wind of re-energizing and transformation.

Speaker 1:

I got to take a step back here because I know some of the information and I got to get my listeners up to speed here. So let me understand this you have this book idea, you're writing this book, you decide it's an RV that the main character is going to be in, and how did that conversation come up with your husband? And the reason I want you to describe this is because we get asked a lot. My husband, my wife, wants to go RVing, but I'm trying to convince them kind of thing is what often happens. Our story for Dan and I is Dan came to me we were in the middle of COVID and said let's just sell everything and buy an RV, and I started laughing because I thought he was joking. So we always love to hear when it's two people together. How did this come up? So tell us the story. Are you sitting at the kitchen table? You're out for a ride? What happened?

Speaker 2:

No, I had started writing the book and I didn't start off thinking we were going to do it. I started off thinking I needed to learn and so it was a great adventure. We live near Syracuse, new York, our primary home in upstate New York, and they were having a lot at the state fairground, a large RV show, and I said I really this is the model, but I need to learn about it and I really want to go and learn and find out about it. So we did a number of shows that we went to. We started a little bit going to um you know the lots of rv dealers and just looking at it was all with the idea I was going to learn um and my, my anna marie golding, drives the original. She's, since um has a newer actually has a brown new.

Speaker 2:

She's my character that continues throughout the books, but it was in 1998 and a half Southwind that she drove, which I didn't know it at the time when I chose that age of the RV that it is the first year that 1998 and a half when RVs could make a 90 degree turn. Before that they didn't turn.

Speaker 1:

That's when the technology to turn in the way they do today much easier to navigate. Wow, I did not know that. And for our listeners, Dan and I have an RV, we have a Class A diesel and it turns weird, but I did not know that. Thank you for that fun fact. Right there there's a fun fact. Go ahead.

Speaker 2:

And it's fun to learn all the time. So we had bought years ago, long before. Both of us are failures at retirement, I do have to add. I've been a failure three times. I just I love to work and write and learn and travel and stay involved in life, and so we were looking at actually Lazy Day RV I don't know if I should say that or not.

Speaker 1:

You could say that that's where you bought it.

Speaker 2:

In the country and we were just. They were taking us around in the golf carts and leaving us in different lots. I told them I was doing research and there sat a 1998 and a half Southwind. And this was in the very early, maybe in 2001, 2000, not sure. And we both looked at each other and said we have to get this.

Speaker 2:

This just seems to be fate that it was in 1998 and a half. It was in great condition, less than 20,000 miles Exactly. We didn't know a lot to know what we didn't want, but it looked to us and we're also antique dealers, which is something we started when we came together to find something to do while we were dating. We actually met skiing and in the summertime needed to have things to do, dating and so and then we're too good at collecting from auctions and so we had to become dealers. So we needed something with storage and the 1998 and a half Southwind had wonderful storage. We didn't even realize how good it was compared to others and so we bought it, ended up going home in an RV we had just driven down in a car.

Speaker 1:

To New York.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, to New York. We spent a few months down here in Florida because after we quit skiing we decided we needed to be out of the snow. So that began our journey and I do a lot, first with my gerontology, and at the time I was working at the University of Rochester and I lived three hours away. So it was we could take the RV out and I could have the pets and my husband at home there when I was doing, didn't have to be driving back and forth all the time or stay someplace else. And I did a lot of national training even then and still do today. So as long as it's a day and a half or two days drive when I'm doing training, we take the RV and go. So we spend, end up in with the antique shows and we traveled back and forth to the shows and to our homes. So we spend. We considered our third home and it's about third, third and third, the time that we spend in each.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so you have become RVers. How long did you say you've been on the road? Or maybe you didn't Like in an rv? When did you buy it?

Speaker 2:

um, I want to say it was 2001 okay, so you've been like three years and um. No, let me. Let me take it back. Um tooth. I was after 9-1-1. We bought the house here um and um it. 2002 is when, and we've been RVers ever since.

Speaker 1:

Oh, wow, wow, Just, and it all started because you wanted to write this book. So now, being in the RV, I'm going to imagine that helped you to get the deep. Okay, first of all, you bought an RV, had no knowledge kind of like us, although Dan had some knowledge of an RV. So let me just ask this you get an RV and you drive it home from the dealership with no experience. Is that what I'm hearing? How did that go, that first drive home?

Speaker 2:

Well, my husband did race cars in his technical school days. He went for engineering and we're both drivers, love vehicles, though I have to admit I was even terrified to be in what I thought was going to be just this joy to get in. Even the rocking because if you're in 1998 and a half was not as stable as the RVs today, I have to tell you a funny story.

Speaker 2:

So we got home with it. We did okay, no accidents. We decided that we needed to go out and practice at home a little bit. So we were out near Rochester in one of the antique shops and we said let's take, we won't even tow a car, we'll just take it and let's get. And it was also to give me a little experience driving, because I was still terrified of the size and the rocking and how high up you sat. And so we had to stop for gas when we got off the thruway before we went to the antique shop and there was a lady sitting in a car who had her car door wide open and my husband, thinking didn't realize the width of it literally just went by and took the door, car door, right off.

Speaker 2:

Lady was on the phone. She never once stopped the entire conversation on the phone the entire time.

Speaker 1:

She just lost her door and RV just knocked her door off of her car. She just lost. Okay, so that's it, and this is how we're learning to drive an RV. I'm not so sure about that.

Speaker 1:

And that's what I told yes, for our listeners this may not be the way, but it does, and I don't want to go down this rabbit hole necessarily, but it does amaze me sometimes. Like I said, my husband's driven many different RVs. I had really been in an RV prior to our sell everything and go full time. But there are a lot of people that get in RVs and they have no idea what they're doing, so we highly recommend not doing that. Learn how to drive an RV, but this was a long time ago, so now-.

Speaker 1:

Yeah we really didn't intend.

Speaker 2:

Actually, we called the state police, had them come.

Speaker 1:

Right, Right. Oh, I'm sure you took care of it.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, but I have to say I said the same thing to the state police when he came, Very serious, and I said we're so sorry but ironically we were trying to learn to be safer drivers and this is why this happened. Not even cracked a smile, he didn't think it was funny at all.

Speaker 3:

I mean there was nothing, and it wasn't but.

Speaker 2:

I was trying to ease the tension. Yes, yes, not the way to learn. And so you want to drive, and we were at that time driving slowly. I decided I did not have the courage to drive it back home from the Rochester area, so I never did get to practice on that day. We did take lessons, by the way, oh good.

Speaker 1:

I was going to say that, yeah, where did you take lessons?

Speaker 2:

At Lazy Days. At that time free lessons were encouraged and they were available and just had to get in, and so we did. As soon as we came back a few months later and at that time we were only a couple of weeks here in Florida, that's right now so we came back fairly soon and had lessons, but it was experience.

Speaker 1:

Definitely. And I'm not sure if Lazy Days still does that. From what I understand, it does, and they don't. I know there are driving schools and I think it's actually called Driving School. I know there's a lot of companies out there and I'll find them and put them in the show notes to help people learn not just how to drive.

Speaker 1:

But you know, again side note of all this, learning about your RV. So we have a 2002 Monaco Diplomat, so not much older or newer than the unit you had and while my husband had had other RVs. You're learning different things and the mistakes that you make. Let's face it, we've all made mistakes. But when we do buy our new RV, which is going to be a Newmar, we just love the Newmar RVs, we love the company. They actually, you know there are companies where you buy them from that will take you through the whole RV.

Speaker 1:

So we work with the dealership NIRVC, which I'm going to talk about in a little bit. But NIRVC is a dealership. They have six locations across the country and they will spend time with you and show you the RV and how it works, because sometimes it's about if you have propane on board, excuse me. Or if you don't have propane on board. There's just so much to this moving home on wheels. You know it really is great to have that. You know, knowledge and information. Wow, so much information here. Now you had your first book've been rving for many, many years now and you go to florida, so you're seasonal. I guess we call that seasonal or part-time seasonal part-time.

Speaker 2:

It's not really seasonal because, um, we even sometimes in the wintertime, and we'll come down here, may go to some show, or I may do teaching. We've dry camped in the winter time and so it's not seasonal. So much as purposeful. I guess that's a new word, I like that.

Speaker 1:

So the RV has really become a purpose and a big you know, a big part of your life. And you know, I know you're in Florida and so are we, and unfortunately we haven't been able to get together, but I'm sure we will. So we're going to be at the Hershey RV show in September and that's not far from you, so hopefully we'll meet there. I know there's a lot more. You know we have to learn about each other, but not that we're finished here, because you have now, as of this month, you released your third book, correct, was it this month?

Speaker 2:

Second book. I'm working on three and four Okay.

Speaker 1:

Misspoke, okay so tell us.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I have to think about it. To keep it straight, what has been released is I have now Whistling Up, the Southwind is available a paperback, kindle, large print, because I'm always thinking about the older reader and in thinking about the older reader, I've had a lot of readers who said I'd love to give this to my mother, but she can't read, um, even the large print, and so we had the audio version came out and that's what. Um, that was announced. Um, because we have four versions.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, we talked not. We talked a couple, maybe three or four months ago when we originally talked and I said you know audio. We live, dan, and I live full-time in an RV. So I love books, I love to hold the books, but it's not always conducive when you live in an RV. The other thing is we're traveling, sometimes four, five, six, seven hours. We love just, we have our little bow speaker and we put the audio book on. And this is a perfect book for that, because you don't have to think a ton. You know it's not like sometimes we'll listen to other things that are too technical and too much thinking, but this is a great book. So I'm glad that you were able to get that audio. We love our audio books. Again, I have your book in paperback, which I am really enjoying having, and it's signed and everything. So now your second book. It's still the same character, right? Tell us a little bit about your second book.

Speaker 2:

Well, let me tell you about the first and how the RV was so central to the story and especially the first book. Anna Marie is grieving she's been grieving for three years this RV on the side of the road with a for sale sign, the owner who she actually becomes friends with, old Walter, who teaches her how to drive the RV, and so that's how this journey starts. But actually the book itself starts at seven years after she's taking the journey, and it's because Granny Rose, who is the older character in the book, has died and the friendship and the relationship and the knowing each other and the importance of the connections they had and knowing and learning each other's histories and extended family have come about because of the journey they took in the south wind. And she, she's become deeply I mean they're all three just beyond friends, really have become another family. In fact they call themselves the Southwind Gang. Oh, wow so. But Granny Rose, who was always my favorite character, I see Anna Marie kind of as somewhat of me, certainly closer to my age.

Speaker 1:

I was going to ask you that, yes.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, and I had a lot of friends. I went through a cycle when I was writing it where seven people in my life, who were very important in my life, died. It just one, sometimes weeks after each other. It was a very, very difficult year, and so I really thought I needed to address the grieving and the rebuilding and being able to get through the deep pain of grieving to be able to start building your life again. And so that's again what the RV? Because it represented freedom, a decision that she made on her own, without anyone else in her life, something she never, ever, had thought of, but it just felt right at that moment. And I also have to understand that everything I write is layered. There's the fun, enjoyable story of the characters, but I choose the numbers, the names, the events that happen, the direction they drive, where they stop. All of it is symbolic of ancient women's history. In fact, that's what I want to do in a podcast in the fall.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that sounds great. Now I'm gonna. There is so much here and I'm loving this and we are going to continue. I do just to give it to our sponsor, open Roads, because being on the road has you know your challenges. Like anything, open Roads solves two major problems. Number one it helps us reduce fuel costs. So we have a diesel Monaco and Open roads fuel card really helps with saving money with we were only on the road Talk about grief I went through seven months with my mom while she was in hospice and even though we weren't on the road that much, we they sent us a thing that said we saved something like $378.

Speaker 1:

Oh, excuse me. So this card is amazing, but what they recently came out with and I know you go up and down from New York to Florida and back and forth and our E-ZPass works fine for that, and Dan and I have the E-ZPass that works up and down the East Coast. But when we started traveling through Texas and other places that have their own toll roads, we were getting fines because we didn't have the right toll pass. We thought they'd send us it in the mail. It was just a mess. So Open Roads now has innovative tolling, which is a toll pass that works in all 48 states, so it's truly amazing, truly a game stopper. You know, really, really has been a big help.

Speaker 1:

All of the information will be in the show notes or the fuel card and the toll pass. We love to share great products with our listeners. Now let's get back to the story, because this I'm intrigued. I feel like it is seven o'clock at night. We don't usually do a podcast this late, but I feel like it's my bedtime story, so tell us a little bit more about that.

Speaker 2:

So the three women come together and in Whistling Up the South, when you are, she is remembering. In fact, she wakes up in the very first page, um, having a dream about being in some vehicle with three women, uh, or two other women, uh, three of them together, um, and sees a spider doing a web on the window, weaving and thinking it was like her dream, and then the phone rings that it's um to say that Granny Rose has died and that he wants this is her. I'm giving a little bit away. Granny Rose is the one character that gets married at the end of the book, but her husband is calling to say that Granny Rose wants her to Louisiana to meet some of Granny Rose's relatives, extended family, but there's also some precious objects that she wants Anna Marie and Krista who's the young woman who traveled with them to go and retrieve. And so that's how the book ends, where they retrieve it in New Orleans and have made some more friends as well, and she goes down in the rv. Um, krista has to fly because krista is now living in oregon, um, but again, um, whistling then following the cycles is granny rose's story. It's the precursor to Whistling Up the South Wind and it's Granny Rose's story of weaving in the social events.

Speaker 2:

And again the seven years later, anna Marie goes back, drives back down the Mississippi. There's some of the stops she makes along the way down the Mississippi. There's some of the stops she makes along the way. Also meets a historian up in New York who helps her because Granny Rose actually came from the New York area. So I weave in some of that history and areas and social issues as well. And then Anna Marie takes the RV and spends a number of weeks in Louisiana learning this, the story, and meeting, meeting these, going to the places and meeting the people who were part of Granny Rose's story.

Speaker 1:

Wow, and what I really love is that all of the stories and the places are historically correct, and I love how that's woven into the book. I guess woven, right, that's a good word. That's woven into the book, I guess right, that's a good word. So let me ask. So now you have the two books and the first book is on audio, which is great. I'm going to get it on audio so the next time we're taking those long rides we could continue to listen to it. Where can people order the books from? Let's make sure people know how to get a hold of your books.

Speaker 2:

Under Mary Kathleen McKenna. I have an author page on Amazoncom and so all four versions and you'll be excited to know, following the cycles of the moon. The second, as of yesterday, is also on audio. It's on Kindle audio video and the paperback as well. I took a little hiatus in writing this story because it requires my nexus gazing at the stars. I do research, I travel to the places. In fact, last July I spent a couple of weeks in southern France on a writer's retreat. But also going to that area, actually went to a campground, talked to RV owners there. One of the people at the writer's retreat, she and her husband, are RVers. So we've already made that. We're going to, we're going to go, hopefully in the next year, or to Europe and travel probably through France, maybe the Netherlands. That's where they live.

Speaker 1:

That sounds amazing.

Speaker 3:

Rent an RV and try to do it.

Speaker 2:

It's a whole different experience. It's smaller, less amenities, identities, um so, but I do the research, which is why I wanted to take out time not writing, gazing until I'm there. Experience and experience, some of this so and um. In gazing at the stars, anna marie will continue our being, but will be our being in europe may do a trip that is awesome.

Speaker 1:

and that was my next question what's next for you? So I, just to reinforce, I will put in the show notes where they can find your books. And again, they're both now on audio. And what's next? She goes to Europe. How incredible is that? Staying in the RV, wow, it's just such an amazing story. Such an amazing story and the, the actual, very next.

Speaker 2:

this is the, the. Those three books are the women of wisdom, because that's also. I want women to feel connected to their history. I want women to feel that they can take their adventures and have the strength I'm not trying to write men out of it, but men get more encouragement by the cultures and society to do these things. Women not as much, and so this is also all about connections. So this is the Women of Wisdom series, and there'll be at least three.

Speaker 2:

And I have Gazing at the Stars partly written, so I know where it's going based on things that happened to me when I was researching following the cycles of the moon, and I have to say I interweave true events that happen and you'll never be able to tell which ones are real and which aren't, because some of them I never would have expected to happen to me in my life. So it's amazing. So I've started a Pets with Wisdom series and the book. I am two thirds of the way through writing. We have a publishing date in June it will be released I think it's June 20th we picked, and so it's Sarabi's story, a Maine Coon cat's perspective on life, love and family. That was the other main reason I had to have to have my characters with the RV because we've learned as pet owners you want to be RVing if you're going to travel with them. There's no other good way to travel. And we find out that's a good percentage of people who have RVs.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, I actually had statistics on that and unfortunately I don't have them in front of me because we always like to do our fun. Fact, dan and I do not travel with any pets. We've always had them, but by choice. You know they had passed before we got in the RV, so we chose not to. But from what I understand, for most people it is an incredible way to travel, but I do want to talk about again. Incredible way to travel, but I do want to talk about again.

Speaker 1:

Nirvc, national Indoor Recreation Center is one of our sponsors and we love National RV Centers. That is where we are going to purchase our RV, because people like Brett Davis, who owns the company, just has this vibe about him. It's like when you and I connected, I felt something. We talked for an hour. I know we'll have lots and lots of more conversations around the campfire. These are the kind of people Dan and I like to surround ourselves with, and NIRVC actually is always striving to be better. They just won the 2024 Newmar Platinum Service Award and they are just. They are so deserving of it. Brett Davis and his entire team is all about how to improve the industry, so well-deserved platinum award there from Newmar. Now the Southwind I found out I had to look this up is actually a Fleetwood which, as you said, you bought yours from Lazy Days, but they can be purchased from NRVC and when I checked on them, there's actually one in their Alabama store that could be purchased if somebody is looking for this Southwind. So I thought that was kind of cool. So now let's get to that.

Speaker 1:

Sound means it's time for today's question of the week, and I want you to hang with us a little bit. And the question of the week is brought to you by Open Roads, innovative Tolling, and the question of the week is and I'm going to throw this at you and we did not pre-prepare, so if you find I'd like to put people on the spot, I usually say I don't want to put you on the spot, but it's just become a thing for me. So Tiana J from Oregon she didn't say where in Oregon said what she wanted to know what it would be like to travel as a single woman. Now I know you and I picked this for you. I know you, kathy, travel with your husband, but you write about traveling a single woman traveling, although she's got people with her. So again, I'm putting you on the spot? How would you answer? What would you suggest? She's just kind of starting out thinking about traveling as a single woman somewhere around. I'm going to say our age. She's not a young brain chicken.

Speaker 2:

I would recommend that she connect. There are at least three associations that are women who travel with other women or travel alone without a companion with them and you notice, even in Whistling Up the South Wind, pretty quickly it's in the first stop. She adopts a kitten in her second stop, on the road, and she immediately makes friends with people in the campground who help her with questions that she doesn't know how to use the RV.

Speaker 1:

And we find that's true to real life. Like, people are very helpful and supportive.

Speaker 2:

They love opening up their RV, they love talking about it and they love helping you. And I have been fortunate in antique dealing. And I have been fortunate in antique dealing. I am in a shop in Baukville area Madison Baukville which is where one of the largest antique shows in the Northeast happens every second week a weekend to the third weekend in August, and in that shop there's also a campground around where we stay often when we're working at the shop and we certainly stay there for about a week and a half of the show and then in the June.

Speaker 2:

So, as I said, it's about third, third and third, it's a third home for our pets. They get excited when they see where we're driving into the campground, but they have other campers and organizations, associations, and so just before the campground closed in the fall and, of course, the shop is right off the field. So who's ever camping comes in and shops the antique shop and we always talk with them. Well, there was a woman's group that was there the very one of the last weekends of September. It was still open and they also were women who traveled with classic the really old and redo them and unbelievably beautiful, and so I spent a lot of time talking with them while they're there, to the point of they've asked me to do a talk when they come back.

Speaker 1:

Oh, awesome. Do you know what the name of the group was?

Speaker 2:

I can't remember.

Speaker 1:

I'm sorry Because I know we had one of our first guests on the show. She might've even been our first guest was Girl Camper. She's got a magazine, she's got Facebook page. Jeanette Pettit just an amazing, another amazing human being, but Girl Camper would be one of the suggestions I would make. And being part of these groups WIN is another one. It stands for oh shoot, I'll post it in the show notes. We had Janelle on the show, Jones on the show. She now owns it. Win stands for something. I'm going to post it in the show notes. It's another amazing group. It is for both, but it is for single people, so it's women or men, single people. So we'll post those resources in the show notes. Now, that place that you were speaking of. I was going to ask you what was a favorite campground, but the campground you were talking about sounds like one of your favorites. What's the name of it?

Speaker 2:

It's Cider House Campground and there is a website, and it's Baukville, new York, and if you like camping and antiques, so let me say, during the August show you're not likely to get a camping site. Those are reserved a year or two ahead Ours is always reserved way ahead, but you can also come.

Speaker 2:

It's also a village of antiques up and down Route 20. So you could come when you're able at the campground. I have lots of. Let me tell you. One was one out in Montana, at the foot of Glacier National Park, and this is one of the things RVers do for you. My husband and I have been seven times to Greece. My husband's a traveler and we're travelers. We had just never traveled with an RV. But so we met a couple in Greece who were RVers, who lived out in Colorado, and so we, for about 10 years after we met them, would pick a place in the country every year and go to that place, stay there for a week together, and they had a dog, and our dogs were friends as well.

Speaker 2:

But the very first time we met was Montana, and it was this campground at the foot of Glacier National Park. It was not part of the federal park, it was separate, and every night they'd come into we had the larger RV would come in and sit, and we'd sit up in front with our glasses of wine and watch the elk and the other wildlife come down, even though there was a huge moose that came down one time as we sat there, and so I can visualize, and I can visualize the peace we felt at that time and the camaraderie yeah, that sounds amazing.

Speaker 1:

And, again, I'm sure when we get to a campground together and we sit around the campfire, it's going to be an all-nighter for us, um, being a full-time RVer, though somehow antiquing and full-time RVer may not go hand in hand, but you and I will discuss that at another time.

Speaker 2:

That's why we have two homes, and because we couldn't sell them, we collected. We've got to have storage space.

Speaker 1:

You absolutely do, but those people who aren't full-time. You know, antiquing is a favorite sport, but that sound means the horn, means it's time for our new feature. So, as of last week, we created a new feature called our Featured Campground of the Week. So each week we are going to share a feature campground, Now this week, the campground and let me just because this is a new feature, I want to pull it up.

Speaker 1:

Our feature campground is the Backyard RV Resort in Montgomery, alabama, and for some reason I chose this campground because I assumed that probably one of your characters visited this area. This is an affordable campground with 105 sites. They've got full hookups, easy in and out, pull-through sites, a dog park, a great covered hangout area and so much more. The campground has a 7.5 rating with 238 reviews. You can find and book this campground by going to the link in the show notes Campgrounds. Campground review is part of RV life and it is one of the most comprehensive campground review sites anywhere. And what I love about it is it's campground reviews by RVers for RVers, so they're very authentic reviews, no buying a review. So we really like the campground reviews site.

Speaker 1:

I'll put it in the show notes, and so I want to thank you so much, kathy, and I'm going to call you Kathy Mary, you know we'll go back and forth. I want to thank you so much for being on the show, for your contribution to our special ed community, our aging community, and to bringing a whole world to people. Your book just brings a whole new world to people and it is so in line for people who are looking to RV or out RVing. It's just, you know, when I sit down to read your book, when I have time, I sit down in my quiet space. I was getting my hot chocolate when it was cold and I would read and it just it transported me to just another place. So I want to thank you so much for being on the show.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for inviting me. It's been a joy.

Speaker 1:

Great, and I look forward to seeing you and actually seeing you face-to-face very soon.

Speaker 3:

By default RV Life.

Speaker 1:

Trip Wizard creates an.

Speaker 3:

RV safe route, keeping you clear of any low clearances.

Speaker 3:

If you want to see all of those low clearances on your map, choose the Research tab, then the Hazards tab and click the Low Clearance icon. If you see a low clearance on the map that you think is on your route, remember to zoom in all the way. You'll find that the low clearance warning is typically on a side road or underpass that is not on your direct route. If you've properly entered your RV information, you won't be routed somewhere you shouldn't be Seeing. The low clearance warnings might be handy for routes you are considering but haven't mapped yet, or help explain why you're being routed a certain way on the map With your RV Life Pro tip of the week. I'm Pat Buchanan.

Speaker 1:

Well, that was our usual, that we are now changing to our feature campground of the week. You know, I went through an hour of the show with one boo-boo. That's not so bad. Went through an hour of the show with one boo-boo that's not so bad. So I'm going to invite our people listening, our listeners, to connect with you, to check out your books and anybody that wants to connect with the RV Life podcast. They could do that on Instagram or Facebook. Leave us a comment, send us a message. We love to hear from you and on that now I will push the correct button. I'm Patty Hunt with my incredible husband, dan Hunt. They have a great rest of today and an even better day tomorrow.

RV Life Podcast With Kathy Bishop
From Aging to RVing
Learning to Drive an RV
Grieving and Rebuilding Through Travel
Granny Rose's Journey and RV Adventures
Female Travel Tips and Campground Reviews