Saturday, November 16, 2019

Redefining Home

October 21 - November 14, 2019
Tombstone, Arizona

For more than four years we've called the RV home. People ask where we live, we say wherever we're parked. People ask where home is, same answer. We've even hesitated to say "going back home" when talking about returning to where we used to live. Because home is the RV. It was something we were proud to say - that we had really done it, followed the dream and made it our reality. "Whenever we don't feel like doing it anymore" was the answer for when we'd "give it up".

So does buying the house in Tombstone mean we don't "feel like it" anymore? Have we abandoned the dream? Where is home now? 

I find myself immediately "explaining" that we'll still travel most of the year, that Tombstone is "just" a winter base, that we're looking forward to "continuing" our travels. Like I have to make sure people know we're still living the dream. That we didn't "quit". 

I know it's silly. 

For me the answer to why we chose the fulltime RV life is Freedom. Being able to go wherever and whenever we want. Never having to "go back home" is a huge draw, and having no other financial responsibilities but those attached to our travels made the reality not only do-able, but easy.

I'd be kidding myself if I didn't admit that losing those with the purchase of a house (see - I still don't call it home) gives me pause. Both will make a difference in how we live, and I'm hoping neither will be significant. 

But we won't know until we combine the two in the Spring. 

Does any of this mean I regret our decision? Absolutely not!

Going fulltime all came together seamlessly for us, and always felt like it was the perfect choice. Everyday we were excited about the next. Everyday was a confirmation that we had done the right thing.

And although we've made this huge change, nothing feels different. 

The purchase came together unbelievably easy and quick. The sellers took care of us like family, our friends are transitioning us into the community, the place has felt like ours since the first morning we woke up here. Everyday we're excited it's ours. Everyday we know this was the right place at the right time.

Everyday we're looking forward to getting back on the road :-) In the mobile part of our home, our warmer months home.

Returning from our weekend gathering in California we've been busy cleaning up the yard, filling the house with comfortable and "more us" furnishings, and making a ridiculous number of trips to "town".

Tombstone is not town. Sierra Vista, 20 miles south, is town. As a national historic site, Tombstone has very few commercial options. We can buy fuel and a few basics at the Circle K and the Family Dollar (faily dollar for a couple of our international traveling friends), and the antique stores are fun for finding a few treasures. But everything else is in Sierra Vista, and Tucson for a bigger selection (and Trader Joe's!).


Always something pretty to see on the drive to town. This day it's cloud waves to the south.
The UPS truck has our address permanently entered in the GPS because Amazon is still king :-))

We meet people out walking, and they all comment that we have the best view in the area. We love our 360 degree views, taking the time to appreciate the beauty that made this big decision an easy one. Working in the yard is still work, but doing it with these views makes it a lot more enjoyable!


Removing the electric fence (to keep out deer) gets rid of the "compound" look and improves the view.

More deer-proof chicken wire and no-climb fence was wrapped around the back porch planters. Removing the fence stakes is a major pain. Going to feel like the chosen king of England when I can finally pull them out!
We love the mule deer who come to visit (so far outside the fence) along with the cotton tails and jack rabbits. The dozens of quail and handful of hummingbirds keep us entertained.


This large Walking Stick is our most unique visitor.
We still get out to appreciate the natural beauty surrounding us. Slowly the intense green is fading, muted fall colors confirm the nights have been getting much colder. 

Some of the most beautiful views are in the Sonoita area - lots of my favorite golden grasses, colorful riverbeds, hills and mountains. It's a good distance for an afternoon drive.


Old Canelo homestead.


High clouds give us changing views all day.

A ribbon of yellow follows the river.

A bright spot along the road.
Back home we're treated to brilliant western skies.
The next morning we have a rainbow with our coffee.
We purchased the property as-is. The HVAC is four years old, and the roof less than seven, but the house was built in 1970, meaning old electrical and plumbing. The sellers had the septic pumped and the new leech line installed before we closed escrow. We expect issues will arise.

Maybe not this quickly.

A few toilet gurgles turn into both toilets and the tub stopping. Living "out of town" means we wait overnight for the plumbers. They would have come out in the evening if we hadn't had the motorhome onsite, but we're fine until they can get to us the next day. 


Not the visitors you want, but sure do appreciate.
When they get the clog cleared the head guy thinks there's something else "weird" going on where the line comes out from under the house. Although everything is working well, he climbs underneath to double check. 

So glad he does!

The pipe is cracked (turns out to be 30 feet of damage) and when the clog backed up it started to leak sewage. Eeewwee! They don't have time or materials to replace it the same day, but it's not leaking with the clog cleared.

As promised they return in a few days and spend over five hours digging, replacing, bringing up to code, refilling.....Not cheap, but we're so grateful they didn't just stop when they cleared the clog. Now we don't have to worry about the majority of our old plumbing!


The drive to Sierra Vista includes crossing the San Pedro River where the Cottonwoods give us a couple weeks of muted Autumn color.


Fallen leaves look more like gold nuggets in the sun.
Donnie's brother Turk and girlfriend Rhonda (we went to high school with all three of them) come to visit them, and we get together along with Anna's sister and brother-in-law for a couple meals/football watching at both Donnie's and our house. The guys spend a day fishing at Patagonia. The gals take a trip to Bisbee to show Rhonda the cute little town and the big pit mines. We forget it's Saturday of the holiday weekend and find no place to park anywhere. Oh well, good company and fun sights, we still have a great day.


Donnie, Anna, Rhonda and Turk enjoying the game after another tasty dinner.
Most days we have a big or small project. It never seems like we do anything big, but when we look at all we've completed it feels great. No matter the size of the project, I love having a bath tub at the end of the day!


Bill found the perfect piece of old wood to complete our new address sign for the street.

I removed all the pantry shelves to expedite demo in a few weeks. This will be open to the living room when done.
Having a house means being able to have family and friends coming to stay. Even those without their own RV! We'll make the trip to SoCal over Thanksgiving to see the kids and grands, pick up our two stored trunks, and take care of doctor/dentist appointments. But for Christmas, Ezra and his parents and uncle are coming to visit for five days!! I suspect stockings on the fireplace will make it home like nothing else.

Our niece and her family are finally moving out of California's bay area, making their new home in Texas. We're so happy for them, and even happier that she and two of the boys made our place their first stop. It was so fun to have them overnight.


Noah, Jessica, Bobby, Jodee and Bill
Bobby and Tessa enjoy the sunshine.
When I consider that "Home is where the heart is", it's easy for me to define our home as part-mobile-part-stationary. The RV is still home, and so is the house. We're blessed to love being in this house, and to also be looking forward to continued travels. 

No pics for now, but on November 10 our first grand daughter Reese Lynn Gravel was born! We're beyond thrilled to welcome her to the family and can't wait to meet her in a couple weeks!


 Tessa makes the best of the changes in her life.

There are lots of reasons we chose Arizona,

amazing sunsets is one of them.


40 comments:

  1. With the bond that remains with your Desert Center classmates, I'm surprised you do not consider that as 'where you're from home'. We all will be looking for a place to hang up the RV keys at some point. I feel fortunate that a 'draft notice' brought me to San Diego over 50 years ago, although it's my 'forever' home, I still consider the PNW 'home'.
    Sure is fun watching Bill tackle some new projects!

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    1. You're right, we do see DC as going home - and those meetups are like seeing family. Guess we're fortunate to have more than one :-)) Since we keep returning to the PNW most summers, we may be adding it to our list!
      Bill would rather be watching someone else!!!

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  2. We have been back in a house now for seven years, but traveling in our RV is stilll our main thing, so I get it:)

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  3. It is such an interesting transition from full time living in a MH for years with no stick and bricks to having a sticks and bricks part time place again. I do really enjoy our house and love our town, but I still love the MH best. Every time I go out to it for something, it brings a smile. It is my very happiest place. I am always anxiously waiting for the next journey. So nice to hear you are enjoying the best of both worlds. Love all the beauty you are surrounded with.

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    1. Admittedly your transition made this one seem like something we'd be happy with! I try not to feel guilty when I go out to the motorhome and assure her that we'll soon all be together on the road :-))))

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  4. I wish we just had one home and the motorhome but it is what it is. The Cowboy isn't quite ready to give up Montana--maybe something smaller??? We are so happy for you guys, I can read the joy in your post about your new "home." And yes, it seems there are always "issues"--glad you found some great plumbers willing to fix it right.

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    1. The Montana place feels like such a part of both of you, but it is definitely "a lot" to care for. Since we aren't as handy as some people we know, we're always relieved when service providers turn out to be so good!

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  5. Looks like you are settling in to your stationary home quite nicely. We've now been in ours for a year and there are always projects to be done., but I love it. All the work we are doing is for us. Isn't it neat to live somewhere so peaceful?

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    1. Wow, a year already?! Yes the peacefulness and slower pace is wonderful. I enjoy the projects as well, especially having unlimited time to complete them :-))

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  6. We gave up the mobile life once but it didn't take long to put it back on the market. We hope you enjoy your new home.

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    1. Having that option made it easier to make the big decision. We can always "undo" it if we decide we miss the year round travels.

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  7. We've been so busy with our new winter villa just over the hills in Green Valley that I've missed seeing your posts so learning about your new place was a surprise. And also very interesting as the other day my spouse and I were discussing a full-time residence in the area (ours is very small and my spouse said, "Hey, how about Tomsbstone?" Then your post arrived in my inbox! I'll avidly follow your posts to see how life goes in the area. We love this area and always have fun visiting the Horseshoe Cafe in Benson.

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    1. It's an area that appeals to a lot of us desert-hearted folks! Glad the post was timely :-))

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  8. With this new home you truly "have it all"! It's nice to love both homes, we do. Sometimes you may not feel like leaving for a bit, and then again, you might not feel like going back to the sticks and bricks for awhile.....your choice! Nothing better. Congratulations.

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    1. I'm finding that so far it does feel like we have more choices than less so I agree there's nothing better!!

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  9. Home is where your honey is, Jodee. 😊. Love the recycled barbed wire on the address, Bill. You are an artist! Can’t wait to see your place in person.

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    1. True! One of the funny things about being here is trying to find each other :-))) Unlike the motorhome, we're no longer within several feet all the time! The post and wire were inspiration for the wood slate and numbers. We can't wait to have you here!!

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  10. You sound so happy!!! Having a winter home in Arizona sounds absolutely perfect to me. Your views and sunsets are gorgeous. It's so good to have a place to rest and regroup in the midst of fulltime travels. It's fun to see what you guys are doing...I noticed the cool address sign right away! How's the project of peeling-off the zillion layers of shelf paper going, LOL?

    Congratulations on the arrival of your new granddaughter! Can't wait to see pics.

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    1. Oh the shelf paper.....I still have several shelves to clean off but some of the cabinets are going to be replaced so I'm working on ignoring the paper in those :-)

      We really are happy!

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  11. I'm happy to see you having the best of both worlds. Good job, guys!

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  12. Ahhhh, I see now. As you know, we put the farm on the market and then David was diagnosed and we were afraid to sell it so we have "visited" it for our entire full time life. Although it is gorgeous and I love it and it is where we lived about 7/8ths of our life together, I still prefer being on the road. Some how there is more work with the house than the RV or at least so far. Guess I'd better not speak too soon now that I no longer have Mr. Can Fix Anything in my life.

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    1. So much to love about the farm and it's beautiful memories. Don't know that I could part with it either. You're a nomad at heart so I can't see you putting up your travel shoes.

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  13. What an awesome post Jodee! I truly feel the love you have for traveling and adventure and the love you have for being settled in a beautiful part of our country...the best of both worlds!

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    1. Thanks Gay. Sometimes putting it down in a post helps to confirm where my head's at. I do love them both!

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  14. We have been RVers for years but always had a home base. It has served us well over the years! Balance is good! Doug and Michelle

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    1. Thanks!! Good to know the balance is key for others.

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  15. I am just catching up on a backlog of blog reading and was delighted to discover that you bought a cute little desert house! I can imagine that it is a strange transition, and one that we can't seem to bring ourselves to make just yet - but with your ability to continue to travel part time it seems that you now have the best of both worlds! I think one of the best aspects of owning a home again would be having a place for family and friends to stay when they visit. Enjoy!

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    1. That's what I've been doing lately - getting caught up :-) I think you're right about the best aspect. I'm so excited to have the family here for the holidays and being able to invite lots of peeps over for a football game!

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  16. Sounds like you made a great choice in both location and house. Being able to park your RV at your place makes it much easier to be a part timer.
    Congratulations on the new granddaughter!

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    1. Thanks Gayle! We're really happy to have the RV at the house, makes for great additional guest quarters as well. We can't wait to see Reese next week!

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  17. Who says you have to define where home is?? Home is where your heart is :-) Today it's at the S & B, tomorrow it may be at another location in the MH. The choice is yours!! Congratulations on your newest family addition! It's about time a girl was born into the Gravel family :-))

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    1. LOL not sure we know what to do with girls :-)))

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  18. Having lived in a number of areas before rv'ing home has always been wherever I live at the time. Dreams change as we grow older, you've lived one and now it's on to another. I know you'll enjoy having the family there for the holiday.

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    1. Life is good when we can more from one dream to the next :-)

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  19. It's really nice to have a home to bring your home to. You have marvelous views.

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  20. I guess we are "neighbors" now. I too chose Arizona and moved the hounds from 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana to Sierra Vista. I was in Tombstone about a month ago. The skies are fantastic aren't they. Welcome to Cochise County.

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    1. Wow!! Steve that's so cool. Will have to meet you and the hounds when we're back in the area. It really is a wonderful place.

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