Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Here's the News!

So here's the plan....

We are in the process of a major downsize.  Selling our over 3000 square foot home that we've lived in for 12 years and moving into a 38 ' (450 sq. foot !) motorhome requires some serious thought into how much of all the "stuff" we've collected over the 42 years of our marriage will be traveling with us.  This. Is. Not. Easy.  It's not particularly fun. Though sometimes it is nice to reminisce at times it is so incredibly sad that there have been many tears as I sort through photos, keepsakes, dishes and even clothing. I'm sure my husband doesn't stress as much about these things, but I know he's going to miss at least a few of his power tools! But we are also looking forward to the liberation from all of those things that we've been hauling around for all these years.  One thing is for sure is that we have collected more than our share of souvenirs, clothes, magazines, knick knacks, electronics and much more. And we are really just beginning to sort through it all. We should have been doing this for at least the past two years.  We've been tossing around the idea of full time RV living for several years, so even though this might seem like an impulsive decision, it really isn't but  a decision that is right for us.  

Our new home.  We've placed an order with Midway RV Center  for a Newmar Ventana 3709 DP (diesel pusher) motor home. Though we were very happy with our little Pleasure Way Pursuit that we drove to Alaska, no way could we live full time in a 22 foot RV.  There certainly are larger motorhomes  but since we like to have the option of camping in state and national parks, we wanted to stay around 38 foot to be able to fit into some of those size restricting campgrounds. After doing our research we then made a trip to Nappanee, Indiana to tour the Newmar facility. We were impressed with the quality of these motorhomes both in construction and customer service and found a dealer to give us the best price for our trade-in.  

                                 

Newmar is one of the few motorhome manufacturers that will allow some customization so we were able to choose flooring, wall covering, counters and tile that we preferred over the standard options. We are looking forward to showing it off since we think it's going to be pretty awesome! It is scheduled for production soon, with a tentative delivery date of March 15.  Usually customers are able to visit the plant when their coach is in production, but due to some facility construction, they've temporarily suspended that option :(  We are hoping someone at the factory will send us a photo or two as it goes down the line.  



In the meantime we continue the "great downsize" and reminisce as we sort through the "stuff" of our lives.  As for the sale of our "sticks and bricks" home, we are thrilled that our daughter and son-in-law will be purchasing it from us and moving here with their two boys.  It has made the transition much easier and they are even letting us store some things here until we determine how long this new lifestyle will suit us.  With two of our kids and their families living within 10 miles of us, we will be able to distribute much of our furniture amongst them.  We've also rented a booth as a family at a local vendor's mall/flea market where we've been attempting to sell some things.  If the weather was better, we probably would do better by having a series of garage sales.  I've got piles to donate, piles to take to a consignment shop, piles to take to the booth, and piles to store.  And yes, piles to toss.  I've already donated much of my fabric stash to a local quilt guild for charity projects but I need to go through what is left and do that again.  I plan on taking my sewing machine and some fabric for a few small projects, but also trying to be realistic about how much sewing I really will be doing.  

So maybe you are wondering just what type of "stuff" is causing me such angst.  

Photos.  We've always been prolific photographers.  That doesn't mean we are good at it, just that we have photos of every trip, every family event and every little thing.  Now in the digital age, that's not such a bad thing, but back when you had to develop the film and then order double and triple prints "just in case", it meant we have a TON of photos. Many are so blurry, it's hard to tell which child was performing in the program or game we were trying to photograph. Even though I've always had good intentions of photo albums and now converting them to digital, that hasn't always happened.  But after spending a long, cold weekend going through more than a few boxes, our photographic history is now down to a more manageable size.  Someday (?) maybe they will be in the "cloud" and most of that paper will be eliminated.  Can you imagine finding a treasure like this and all the copies that weren't distributed to relatives at Christmas, then scanning one copy and tossing the rest? Nope, it didn't happen.  I kept at least one :)  


My Family  1986 or 1987  


Quilts.  I've been quilting for a few years, and most of what I've finished have been gifted to babies and brides.  But I do have several things I've made.  I haven't even begun to go through those.  But I married into a family of quilters and my mother was a quilter.  




These are just a few of what I've had in storage.  There are some others that I'm not sure who made them and are even older.  The Sun Bonnet Girl quilt was made by D's Grandma Mary.  The Pansy Quilt was made by my mother.  The bottom two were made by either Grandma Mary or Grandma C. The bright green one is is good condition and will find a home on our youngest granddaughter's big girl bed.  The gold embroidered one was given to us as a wedding present and  shows that we used it for too many years.  I really don't know what to do with these other than keep them in storage.  Do our best intentions of passing along family keepsakes only add to the guilt they will feel when it is time to discard them?  Sorry kids.  

There are many things we are going to miss when we move into our house on wheels.  The king size bed, the big kitchen full of appliances, a flower garden (not D, he hates yard work!), our neighbors but mostly having our grandkids and other family close by.  But then we remind ourselves that we are thankful we are healthy enough to take on this new life and that we've got the support of our family (I think! Unless they secretly think we are crazy!)  We are looking forward to exploring new parts of this beautiful country but yet we don't want to rush around as if we are only on an extended vacation. There will be a couple places near here where we can return and park our home when we need to and we hope that we are able to visit with other friends and family around the country.  So heads up Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Michigan.  We just might be headed your way!

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Year End Review

2016 has been definitely blog worthy.  Sadly, I'm a poor blogger.  So, I'm going to take an easy route to do a quick catch up post.  There is going to be more to our story that I'd like to document, so hopefully I can get back in the habit of regular blog posts.

Retirement:  In May, Dennis retired from his V.P. position he has held for the past 15 years.  Mostly, this has been a good thing.  Stress has taken it's toll, it is time to move on, even if it means a change in finances and spending habits.

Alaska RV Trip:  There is no way I could possibly write anything at this point that would describe our adventure.  We covered over 13,000 miles in our little motorhome from May through August.  We truly enjoyed ourselves and this was the perfect way to start this next phase of our lives.  At some time, I hope I can do a proper recap here of our trip.  This was truly the highlight of 2016!


Health: The summer passed with no more than a couple sniffles and a few sore muscles from hiking. But shortly after returning home, D started experiencing dizziness and strange head aches.  Even after several doctor visits, a cat scan and other tests, no diagnosis.  Finally, at a loss, the doc tested for mono.  So at 62 years old, he has a disease most often associated with college age and young adults.  Unfortunately, a 62 year old with mono, can expect to feel the effects for several months or even a year.  Then, around Thanksgiving, I came down with a "popular" respiratory virus and have been battling the sluggishness and bone rattling coughing.  Here it is almost the middle of January of the new year and we are still not 100%.   

Family and Christmas:  The downside of traveling all summer and several thousand miles away, was missing our family.  Especially, the grandkids.  We missed some birthday parties and family outings, but they all remembered us (well, the one year old sort of did!) and we got lots of hugs when we got home.

I was able to get back to some sewing projects just in time for Christmas.  There was no room in the little motorhome for a sewing machine, but then we were too busy being tourists to miss it!  Here are the grandkids in this years Christmas jammies.  I think they looked pretty cute!


The Big News: We are going to sell our home, and go full time in our RV! This plan has been in our thoughts for quite some time.  But after enjoying our trip last summer and facing the fact that we aren't getting any younger, we decided to go for it.  We've ordered a new, bigger and more livable motorhome and are in full downsizing mode.  There is so much more to say about all of this, I will have to continue here with the details!  We are getting excited, but nervous too.  More to this story for sure!

Monday, May 9, 2016

RVillage - North to Alaska


RVillage is an online group of RV owner's and travelers.  We joined this group when it first became active but haven't utilized it much until we began planning our Alaska Adventure. Smaller groups for similar interests are available.  "North to Alaska" is the one we are the most active in.  It has been interesting to read various tips and info that other travelers have shared. Several have already began the trip and have been sharing their experiences crossing the Canadian border and approaching the wildfires near Fort St. John.

One of the members designed a sign that was suggested that everyone who is traveling to Alaska this summer display so we could identify each other along the way. Because evidently with only a few roads headed North, you will likely see the same RV'rs at various stops along the way.  RVillage has the option for you to update your location along the way so others can find you too.  


So here's our sign!  D put the laser to use and decorated his fancy/smancy carrier for the back of the RV.  After all, we need a little extra room for "things" like our little Weber Q grill, leveling blocks, ladder, tools and more. Maybe even shoes, since we will be gone almost three months!  



Things are gradually being crossed off the list and our departure date is fast approaching!  



Saturday, April 30, 2016

One Month and Counting!


The countdown has begun! We have a tentative date of May 30 to leave on our Alaskan Adventure. That might change a few days either way but now we have to get serious about getting things ready. 




There has been some shopping going on.  Here's a few of our purchases.




 This past year has been one of some serious health improvements.  Losing weight is never easy, but with a partner to keep share the struggle this time we've both had major success (30 pounds + for each of us).  We don't want to blow it so three months of travel and trying to fix healthy meals in a small RV kitchen is going to be a challenge.  The "weight loss experts" might disagree but we've found that stepping on the scale every day helps.  We found this little bitty scale on Amazon.  It measures only out 6 x 8" is very light weight.  Perfect for our little bitty RV bathroom! 


Walking has been our main exercise, but we are going to try some hiking when we are in Alaska.  These Keens might be more boot than we need, but at least we will be prepared!  I really think we should go over to one of the area state parks and hit a trail or two before we leave, but not sure if we will have time.  After all, D is still working (at least for the next month!)



 



Yep, he's still making some "improvements" to the Pursuit.  Adding another house battery will allow us to stay "off-grid" (no electricity) awhile longer.  We've heard that many places will allow camping along the roadside pull-outs so we will be ready!  I might not be able to use my hair dryer or microwave, but we can have lights and maybe watch a movie.  He also added a new little antenna to the roof of the Pursuit to boost our cell phone signal.  He's working on the carrier we are adding to the rear of the RV.  I'll get photos of that when he gets it done this week.  

It's getting real!  The adventure awaits :)


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Preparing for an Adventure


We've talked about this for a few years now.  The ultimate RV adventure of driving to Alaska for the summer!  So we are planning, preparing and praying to make 2016 the year it will finally happen.  



With the help of the Milepost, maps and Church's Alaskan Camping guide, I am trying to come up with a loose itinerary.  We are trying to not plan too much and just "play it by ear" for much of the trip.  The only reservations we've made so far are for a campground in popular Denali National Park. By the time we get back home to Indiana in late August or early September, we will have traveled over 10,000 miles!

Obviously, we've got to make sure our little motorhome ( a 2013 Pleasure-Way Pursuit) is in tip top shape for this trip.  One thing D thought would make the truck drive easier  and ride more comfortable  was to install new shocks.  After lots of research, he chose Bilstein Shocks.  Now my husband is pretty talented,  but usually lets a professional mechanic handle anything automotive.  But again, after lots of research (you will soon see a pattern here !) he decided he would tackle this project himself.  No problem for this guy!  Not an easy feat, but he accomplished the project with perseverance and very few choice words, in a few hours.  







We drove the RV to Nashville for a weekend of Grand Ole Opry and shopping and were happy to find that this modification was worthwhile.


This little old blog has been ignored lately, but maybe the prospect of our upcoming adventure will bring it some new life.  I will try to post more about our preparations and then post when I can along the way.  Stay tuned !!  We truly will be "On The Road..."


Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas from our house to yours!  
We are looking forward to 2016 !  
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 11, 2015

I've been reading about some bloggers having trouble posting so I thought I should do a little experiment.  Here are some pics of a few of my last projects.