Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Down to the Wire While Wrapping Up Life in the Stix-and-Brix

Over two years of preparation comes down to this final week. Our targeted launch date is June 3.

We are sorting the last things here at the apartment for what the kids are taking, what our friend is picking up, what goes to charity, and finally what we're taking in the motorhome. Seems like there's a lot in the last pile that can't possibly all fit, but we'll make adjustments if we have to.

Got all our last appointments done - dentist, optometrist, vet, bank, lab-work, DMV, Tessa's groomer, my groomer. All done. 

Good-bye-for-now visits with family and friends enjoyed. Paperless accounts set up. Address changed. Utility, cable and internet cancellations scheduled.

But naturally there are unexpected "issues". Everything has gone so smoothly for us that we really shouldn't be surprised. And while the timing on one end is frustrating, it's a blessing we were still "home".

The day after we returned from Lake Tahoe Bill was having trouble breathing. Urgent Care on Monday confirmed a potentially serious health problem, and he was sent home with new meds and a referral to cardiology.

Time to get serious about some lifestyle changes we have been "going to start" for far too long. By Thursday morning he was feeling 100% better and has had no symptoms since. We see the doctor tomorrow for any further instructions, but we're feeling pretty confident that there will be no delays in our launch as a result of this wake-up call.

In addition, our motorhome is waiting for one last part to complete the warranty work. Seriously, how boring would it be if it were already done?  Just sitting there ready to go? Where's the excitement in that?

Regardless of these last minute challenges, we are moving into Half-Shell on Sunday. Partly because all our furniture is getting picked up that day, but mostly because we don't want to wait any longer! We'll clean the apartment on June 1, and turn in the keys.

We will officially be full-timers :-)))))))))

The work to complete on the rig doesn't keep us from being able to drive it. It doesn't have to wait at Camping World. We also have a spot to mooch-dock at a friend's lot with full-hookups here in town.

So of course we're "down to the wire" with important things pending in our last scheduled week. But we aren't letting that spoil the excitement of recognizing the dream is just around the corner. We have no reservations until July 4 in Idaho. Lots of plans in between, but when, where and how long is still flexible. 

Guess I'll have to update the description at the top of the blog.......

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Family in Tahoe and Driving the Eastern Sierras

Even before the motorhome went in for service, we planned to drive the Jeep to Lake Tahoe for our nephew's wedding. Not knowing much about the venue, and with possible snow in the forecast, we arranged for Tessa to stay with doggie daycare.

Amazingly little to pack for two put us on the road early Thursday morning. Thunder storms and snow were threatening throughout the Sierras so we opted for the boring but quick Interstate 5 to cover the distance. Traffic was light, we hit very small cells of precipitation, and after a couple fast stops we picked up Hwy 50 in just over five hours. Definitely a "destination and not the journey" travel day! 

Half way up the mountain we hit rain that turned into light snow flurries off and on. Temps dropped to freezing but the road remained free of ice and none of the snow made it to the ground or even the car hood. Both of us have been to South Lake Tahoe, but it has been many years. I was surprised at how "developed" it is. The weather made it gray and mono-chromatic, but still beautiful.

We were most looking forward to seeing extended family and the informal gathering at the hotel's conference room was a wonderful start. Lots of hugs and laughs and catching up.

The morning looked a bit different and it was very cold.

After breakfast with our sister-in-law Marilynn, we returned to the hotel to get ready for the big event.

Fortunately the couple had moved the venue from beach front to a lovely lodge overlooking the lake, and although the skies were overcast there was no rain or snow to dampen the wedding.

The couple requested that no photos be uploaded on the Internet so you'll just have to take my word for how beautiful it was :-)  David is Wayne's only son, and it was very important for Bill to be there for David after his father's passing last year. It was bittersweet for all of us to be together again.

We wrapped up our family visiting with bbq and brews at a house one of the kids rented , and of course more hugs and catching up!! 

Saturday morning was bright and sunny so we continued northeast on Hwy 50 rather than backtracking. When we launch in a couple weeks we are heading up Hwy 395 so we thought this would be a good chance to check out the route, a couple campgrounds, and the condition of the road.

I've only been to Carson Valley once and have always thought I could live there. Seeing it from above furthered that opinion - what a beautiful place!  It has everything you need, yet Gardnerville still maintains that small town feel. Breakfast at a wonderful local café in Minden, and we headed south on Hwy 395.

Love the mountains on all sides of town

The Cowboy Café in Minden, cute and tasty
The Eastern Sierras never disappoint, but with the addition of new snow all around the drive was especially beautiful. I probably said "Wow!" at least a couple dozen times.

We stopped and took some pics at the Fremont historic marker at Devil's Gate, made a pit stop at the June Lake cutoff, and checked out a couple campgrounds in Bishop.

My favorite kind of snow - off the highway

At the Fremont marker, Devil's Gate

Mono Lake
With a layer of clouds resting on top of the entire range, it was difficult to make out Mt Whitney as the highest. But when we stopped for lunch in Lone Pine there it was right behind the Totem Café. Actually it's "right behind" all of Lone Pine.

Miles of beautiful
Lunch was very good and the people watching was just as good. From the three young filmmakers editing on their laptop next to us, to the backpackers and horseback riders on the main street, Lone Pine is a very active little town.

Mt Whitney just hanging out in the back

Horses instead of skateboards for the locals
 The rest of the trip saw a decrease of visual interest and an increase in wind. By the time we reached the Antelope Valley we were back to flat and brown, and the winds were gusting at 35 mph. It will be so nice to cover this same route and have 10 days to do it!

Random bump of red

Coming to the end of the mountains

It was good to get out of the Jeep, it was good to see Richie and Tessa, and it was good knowing it's the last time we'll return to the apartment from a trip :-))))

18 more days.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Have a Nice Weekend????

Like the happy of a birthday and the merry of a Christmas, one wishes a nice weekend to recognize a special time. Something that you've looked forward to. Likely counted the days to.


During school years (both ours and our children's) the weekend was a big deal. Whether it was just Saturday morning cartoons, or playing at the river with friends, those two days at the "end" of the week couldn't get here fast enough.

When you start working you love having your own money, making new friends, honing your skills, but still Monday is the dreaded beginning to another countdown. Even if your weekend isn't Saturday and Sunday, those days off are a big deal.

With the exception of a few jobs in college, I was fortunate to have  "regular" weekends off. In those jobs that put me in contact with the public, every Friday was full of "Have a nice weekend."  At the end of the day co-workers all shared the same sentiment on their way to all those plans that had taken another dragging five days to arrive.

Looking back I think of how much time I wished away. How few Mondays (non-three-day-weekend-holiday-Mondays) were enjoyed. How many days slipped past while only looking forward to days yet to come.  I don't think I'm different than most people. At least most of us had a weekend, unlike many generations before us.

Now that we are both retired the weekend is so different! Partly because we don't know when it is, and mostly because they are no longer the best days of the week.

With the exception of planning things with our kids who all work or (1) are in school, the weekend no longer holds the allure of our working years. In fact the opposite is true.

Living in an apartment complex of families, college students and working couples, the weekdays are pretty much all ours. No trolling the parking lot for a space. No constant running of little feet overhead. No joggers passing by our windows all day long. No other dogs "sharing" the green space.

Weekends?  The opposite. By a lot!

And just going to the grocery store at 10 AM on a Tuesday is like entering an alternate universe - one with fully stocked shelves and no other carts to navigate. No waiting at the meat counter, the deli or at check out. Your life is rarely at risk crossing the parking lot.

It's the same with getting other errands done as well. Not only are there less people, there are less people in a hurry.  There are more moms with babies and toddlers, but give me a screaming child over a bunch of teenagers and adults impatiently rushing through their day (and mine) any time!  I've been both - I know what they're capable of :-)

Restaurants and movie theatres, parks and walking paths, beaches and lakes - more entertaining, more relaxing, more enjoyable when not visited on the weekend.

Right now we can stay home on weekends and avoid the crowds, but when we are on the road the crowds will come to us.

I've avoided Friday arrivals and Sunday departures, and included a couple weekdays around each weekend for the few reservations I made on our first route. We're prepared to be good neighbors when the parks are crowded, hoping to be entertained rather than annoyed by the antics of others. After all, we get to do every day what others have to pack into their weekend.

It's a big lifestyle change, one I didn't give much thought to before. I still wish most people a nice weekend, because they're still looking forward to them! But what about other retirees? They likely don't know when the weekend is.

And if they do, they're probably looking forward to it being over.......

Have a nice every day!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

One Month Til Launch - OMG!

Yesterday I paid rent on the apartment and the RV storage. Included with each check was our notice to vacate on June 3. It was a pretty big deal!

We dropped the motorhome at Camping World with a list of 11 fixes. They're all small except the windshield gasket, but warranty work will take longer so we expect they'll have it for a few weeks. They told me about a couple specials they're having next month - but we won't be here!

Fun side story while at Camping World: The service reps were all busy when we arrived so Bill, Tessa and I went to the waiting room. The finance manager came in immediately to see Tessa. After petting and doggie kisses, she took her back to the offices where she made the rounds. While we were waiting, a couple more employees came in for Tessa visits. It looked like it was going to take a while so Bill took her to go pick up some breakfast. The service rep came to get me and asked if I had an appointment. I said yes, at 10. Looking at his computer screen he says there's no appointment but it's okay, he'll write it up. I assure him I called yesterday to confirm the appointment and that the work order was already written up. The receptionist hears and tells him it's on the schedule, line 2. At this point he takes a deep breath and drops his head a bit. He looks at me and says "The dog's name is Tessa, that's not your last name."  He had been hearing everyone saying "Tessa is in the waiting room, they have an appointment this morning, go say hi." He felt stupid, but I thought it was hysterical and it made for a great story all over the shop.  When we finished up he said "Just sign it 'Tessa's mom' "!

Back to our last month....

We have a good friend who is moving into a bigger home on June 1 so she is coming to pick up the last of our furniture at the end of the month.  It is a great solution for both of us!  We have one more antique trunk that will hold a few photo albums and a couple other items we're adding to our son's storage, and Richie will take his furniture with him to his mom's.

Our medical, eye and dental appointments are wrapping up, with all of our providers working with us and our new lifestyle. Tessa's vet is putting together a packet for us including salves and information on ticks and other "critters" she may encounter. Both the vet and our medical provider have all records available electronically as well.

Finally, we have started changing our address on everything. As soon as our new checks arrive at our friends' house (our new domicile), we'll go pick them up and get in one last visit with them.

We've been preparing for over two years, and still I worry that we're forgetting something important. We have at least three different lists that we're checking off, and have a couple more events to attend. But is that everything?

We'd still prefer to be on the road already, enjoying the beautiful Spring weather, but OMG! - we only have a month left!!!