Saturday, October 30, 2010

Made it to Trumbauersville, PA

Breaking camp after 6 months in one place proved more difficult than we imagined but we've managed to take the first small step of our journey. This morning everything seemed to be going well until we raised the leveling jacks but continued to get a "jacks down" warning alarm every time we started the rigs' motor. Once this was sorted out we realized all six tires were 10 lbs. under inflated and needed air. On board we carry a small 12 volt compressor but this is a slow process with a little portable machine. Whilst dealing with these issues we found we STILL HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF! As late in our eleventh hour as last night at 8:00pm I closed yet another Craigslist transaction under a Coleman lamp at our campsite. Our towed Jetta is filled to the point where only the driver can get in and I continue to ask myself; will we ever be free of all this stuff?

That day WILL come. We escaped today............what a great feeling!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Squeaky Clean Travel Companion

While making preparations for a Saturday departure the travel team agreed (2-1) Charlie needed some sprucing up for the trip ahead. A file storage tub and the motorhome's hot'n'cold spray nozzle in the water and sewer compartment made for the perfect dog wash. She didn't appreciate the experience of course, but once she was rinsed off and had soaked up some warm afternoon sun, she was no worse for wear.

The new storage batteries are installed and the cores returned. Not a bad job, really, if you don't mind being hunched over on your knees under the overhead door for two or three hours. I double checked and triple checked my wiring diagram before turning the power back on and everything is good to go.

The solar panels had to be absolutely, positively installed before we could be on the road. I'm not going to even attempt to describe here what I went through to sort this out. Later I'll create a web page with all the details. The wiring still has to be done but once they are folded down flat they are good to travel too.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Getting Ready to go South

It's been a few months since we've seen our Army son, Zach. He's had a busy summer doing some training on bases in California and New Mexico. Presently he's back at home base, Fort Campbell in Tennessee, where we hope to connect with with him sometime around Thanksgiving.

In the meantime we are trying to get ready to leave New York on October 30th. We have throughly enjoyed a total of 6 send-off gatherings and want to thank everyone again for the fine food, gifts and best wishes. It looks like we will still be downsizing up until the last minute and beyond. The Astro van should be sold effective tomorrow and I have two rifles to deliver to my local federal firearms dealer to complete transactions I did on A glance around the motorhome reveals the fact that we still have too much stuff but we can always jettison things along the way. Jennifer's blog; Living in my Car had a really good read yesterday on getting simpler. She has downsized to a point that would make even Thoreau proud. I liked what she said about being outdoors more as well. We've only just begun and yet we find we spend much more time outside than we ever did before.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Installing Solar Power

To begin the installation of our solar power system I bought new house batteries to replace the 5 year old original house batteries. The new batteries are Trojan lead acid RE series batteries. The RE series are renewable energy batteries better suited to charging by a PV solar panel system than the original T-105 batteries. They are also warranted for 84 months versus only 60 months for the T-105s and the cost difference was less than $20 each. Although I considered sealed maintenance free batteries, dollar per amp hour, lead acid batteries are still the best buy available today in my opinion. Although they will require scheduled watering, I like to be able to take individual hydrometer readings on each cell.

I've started the solar panel installation but have stopped work on this until I resolve some fastener and sealant issues. Although it's hard to tell, I am on the RV roof in this photo. More on this to come.........

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Downsizing

I put my trusty van up for sale this week. This has been a versatile vehicle I will be sorry to see go. I bought this 7 years ago to replace a Toyota pickup I had at the time. My feeling then was that the pickup style body allowed things to get wet and possibly stolen from the truck bed. The van has fixed these issues and sooo much more. With the seats in place the van could seat 8 people and was a great family vehicle to take on vacation or anywhere we needed a roomy car. With the seats removed sheetrock or plywood would fit right in and the vehicle towed every bit as well as the pickup did too. Bulk wood chips and firewood were the only things the van couldn't do well. I read a joke somewhere that "you know your a redneck if you know how many bales of hay you can fit in your car". I could get 12 in.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Send-offs Begin

Yesterday we attended a nice send-off luncheon at Martha's cousins' in New Jersey; Tim and Claudia Mattson and their four daughters. We were happy to finally see their lovely home that Tim has done such a great job remodeling. They served a delicious meal with baked chicken, stuffed shells, salad and numerous desserts. Also there were Aunt Georgia, Aunt Naomi, Uncle Nap and Paul Mattson. Greg joined us as well and spent the night with us here at Sylvan Lake. We thank everyone for their culinary contributions and their blessings for the journey ahead of us.

Last week we also enjoyed a tasty tenderloin dinner with good friends Sue and Al; we will miss them dearly. In the week ahead we look forward to more send-off gatherings at our respective jobs and one with our friends here in New England. As we say so-long to friends, relatives and co-workers we are often asked if the purpose of our adventure is to find the perfect place to settle down. At this point that is not on our minds at all; we simply want to live like nomads.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2nd Kiva Loan

Christine is a 31-year-old woman, married with four children aged 12, 8, 6, and 1. She cares for her family and lives in her own permanent house. Her family goal is to educate her children. Her home address is Masindi, Uganda.

She is into the poultry business and has been doing it for two years now. She started with a few chicks but now has many and the challenge she faces is that chicken feed is expensive. In future she wishes to expand her business to supply both broilers and layers. She needs the loan to buy more chicks.

When I read about this woman needing a loan to buy more chicks I just had to help out a fellow chicken farmer. My grandparents chicken farm was the bread & butter of their small farm; I miss those days. Christine still needs $325; contact me if you would like to help out.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Selling Firearms

Yesterday, for the first time I listed a rifle for sale on the internet. I thought this was going to be a complicated process but it turned out to be easier than an ebay auction. First I opened an account at and then I perused a few auctions to see how people were handling shipping and how many photos they were posting. Now, to ship guns legally, they have to move from one licensed dealer to another, never from one private individual to another. So my next step was to contact a local firearms dealer (FFL for short) to learn about the details for handling this transaction. I was surprised to learn that he would handle everything for just $35, and this includes the packaging of the rifle. Such a deal! The only other cost are the actual shipping charges. Here's a link to my live auction running right now: Live Firearms Auction I already have 5 bids, this is so exciting!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I can't seem to finish selling

Although we're out of our house there are still a few things left to liquidate. At this point I'm weary from the whole process of selling on Craig's list and eBay. I am tired of hearing that the check is in the mail, of waiting for people who don't show for an appointment, of being asked to hold an item until they get paid in 2 weeks, of people wanting a partial refund because the item wasn't as expected and it goes on and on. It didn't used to be this difficult when we had a normal economy, but I guess the new norm is what we have now. Below is a real auction I posted on eBay last week. My friend, Sue also an eBay enthusiast, said it's "a classic" and that I should post it here because it exemplifies my current attitude for this whole business.

Large lot of Professional Quality Woodworking Drill Bits

Starting bid: $25

Most of these bits are Greenlee or Forest City. All are multi-spur or brad point woodworking bits, not metal bits. Most are pretty sharp, some are new, some are dull. When I took the first 3 photos I thought I had found them all but of course later I found more. The forth photo is what I found the next day. Since then I found even a few more. So, the winning bidder will get everything you see here in the 4 photos plus a few more. I don't have the time to measure all these bits and list the sizes here. What you see is what you get plus a few extras. Somebody, please bid on these or I will have to throw them in the trash and nobody wants to see good tools thrown away do they? I do not sell anything for less than $25 anymore because it is not worth the time it takes to do the whole eBay listing process plus the fees, shipping and handling. That's why these go in the dumpster if no one bids on them. Thanks for looking!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What do I miss?

It's been one week since we closed on the sale of our house. I think the best thing about our house was the view because it always presented something different to look at each day. Photo opps, like this moon photo I took a few days before our departure, happen almost daily when you have a distant landscape and lake to look at everyday. However, I'm sure the places we're headed for will provide an even greater diversity of views and scenery.

The other thing I will miss is the outdoor shower. Even though we had a gorgeous tile & marble frame-less glass shower inside there is nothing like taking your morning shower outdoors. Where else can you enjoy a mug of coffee, take in the view and feel the warmth of the sun on your face. I am already working on the idea of a portable RV outdoor shower.

View from inside the shower. (The ribbon is to protect the raspberry patch from the deer) I miss the raspberries too.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

George the Ground Hog

Yesterday afternoon we met George, the ground hog. While getting ready to put a T bone on the BBQ, our neighbor Ted called to us to exclaim that George the woodchuck had arrived for dinner. Ted, who has been camped two sites away from us for the summer, has apparently befriended this furry creature and feeds him or her daily. I was surprised that the little guy allowed us to pet him as well. Bread and assorted vegetables are now a part of his regular diet. I just hope he is able to feed himself this winter when all the campers have gone away.

This same evening I found this fuzzy caterpillar in our wood pile. The little fuzzy creation is quite intelligent as it would freeze in its tracks whenever I moved the board it was on but would start crawling again once I set the board down.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Tropical Storm for Our First Night

Last night was officially the start of our full time RV lifestyle, and what a night it was. After enduring a full day of on and off rain yesterday we went out to dinner in celebration of our real estate closing. It was still raining lightly when we turned in around 10:00 pm, but at about 4:00 am we were both awakened by strong winds and a heavy downpour. The wind driven rain came down with such furiousity that it was difficult to hear one another talk. With much timidity, Charlie wandered nervously around the coach looking for a safe refuge from the violent calamity outside. Once daylight broke the morning light revealed wildly shaking trees looming above our bedroom window which occasionally dropped dead branches on our roof top with heart stopping thuds. Like a submarine captain fearing the next sinking depth charge, we wondered whether the next limb to fall might not be "the big one". This to shall pass, I thought to myself and by about 6:30am the tropical storm began to move away and the winds died down. Whew, if there was ever a test of the water tightness of our rig this was it. It did very well though I will climb aloft this week end to check for damage.

With home ownership now behind us and the bulk of our possessions liquidated we can now focus on our new life. Before I start to think about the logistical preparations for our journey I wish to remind myself of the mindset that got us to this point. It is best summed up in a quote I found recently by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross:"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth - and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had."