Seasons Greetings…

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Another Year On the Road and On the Water.

Times sure does fly when you are having fun. I can’t believe we just celebrated the two-year anniversary of our mobile lifestyle. It’s been another great year traveling in the Road House and cruising in the Beach House. Feels like we have been on the go all year having logging over 6,000 miles on land and over 125 hours motoring in the Beach House.

 

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Are we still loving it???
YES, YES, YES… Having the time and flexibility to explore this beautiful country and having good health are gifts that we don’t want to squander. Not having to huddle up all winter long in the gray, rainy Pacific Northwest – bonus points!

 

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Do we miss working???
No, Hell No…After 2 years of being retired, I can’t imagine going back into the work force full-time. We are really enjoying a more leisurely lifestyle, being outdoors more, spending more time with friends and traveling.

Wally has been able to channel some of his creative energy doing projects for the coach and the boat. He has done some more really nice improvements this year such as a raw water anchor and galley spray down system on the boat and just recently installed a Paykel Fisher dishwasher on the coach. Love having a handy guy!!!

 

 

What about living together in such small spaces???
I think we have adapted well because no one has been smothered in their sleep again this year. That may seem like a low bar and yes, we do get on each others nerves once in a while but hey, what 25 year plus married couple doesn’t. The biggest downside is the amazing collection of pet hair that I am constantly removing from both the Road House and the Beach House. I know it was in our house too but the hair had 2,500 sq foot to coat everything. A more creative person would be using all that soft fur for slippers, purses or who knows what!

 

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This alien looking ball of cat and dog hair was what the repairman pulled out of the inside of the dryer in the coach…eek! No wonder the dryer stopped working.

 

Do you miss all the “stuff” you got rid of?
We don’t miss the stuff per se but it is a pain sometimes rearranging what stuff we have just to get to the stuff we want. Having so little stuff is really interesting however. Seems most of our adult lives is spent working hard to accumulate “stuff”, not really realizing how irrelevant it is nor knowing that it will eventually be so freeing not to be tied down to all that “stuff”. Our goal now is just to accumulate experiences and not “stuff”.

 

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Now the million dollar question…isn’t this lifestyle costing you a fortune???
This may surprise some of you but our mobile lifestyle isn’t more expensive. We have certainly made some changes to our budget since we are no longer working. Not having a house to take care of most definitely helps the bottom line plus I love to cook so we have more dinners at home these days too. We have been good savers, mostly in our company 401K programs but the winner mega-lottery ticket would sure be nice. I have been the keeper of our budget for years and to be truthful, when we were working we did not think too hard about buying what we wanted, when we wanted. That mentality has definitely changed now that we are living on our savings. We did exceed our budget again in the second year on the road but that was because we purchased a lot at the Outdoor Resort Palm Springs – more on that in the next post. The mobile lifestyle can be anything you want it to be as can the costs associated with it, so budgets are different for different people. Suffice to say, we are way more careful with our cash these days plus when you have nowhere to put new stuff, you just don’t buy much new stuff. Plus, we love being debt free and plan to stay that way.

 

 

What about the pets???
They love being with us and most of the time we love being with them (except when I am in the middle of the daily pet hair removal exercise). Bentley isn’t the easiest dog to travel with as he is so wary of strangers and is afraid of other dogs. Ever since he was attacked by an off leash dog two summers ago, he positively doesn’t want to be around other dogs. At least with people, he does warm up and will greet you with a nub wag after he has accepted that you are not the scary, evil person he thought you were. This summer on the boat was harder for him as some of the remote areas we cruised in had limited access to shore. He was glad to be back on land where he can run, run, run, lay in the sun, hang by a roaring camp fire or play ball.

 

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Sucia has done exceptionally well this year…so much less stressed than last year. She has been healthy and happy but wow can she shed! She did great this summer on the Beach House and didn’t seem to mind all the long days of motoring. She has found all the great sun spots on the boat and in the coach now too. She loves, loves, loves the hummingbird feeders we have strategically hanging outside the coach right now.

 

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What about lessons learned???
In our second year, we have really embraced flexibility and not getting too hung up on having a set travel schedule. I think this concept is easier for Wally than me as I love to plan our travel. That said if we aren’t loving a place or get behind schedule closing down or opening up the boat, well c’est la vie…such is life!

 

 

Missing friends or family??? Duh, just get on a plane or a train or a bus and go visit. Hmm, great idea and we have both done separate trips to see friends and family at different times this year. This being retired thing really rocks!!!

 

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Drumroll please…One can have too many provisions on a boat. Yes, the theory that if one jar of chicken bullion is good why not get two or three will be a theory that I may have to revisit next summer when I re-provision the boat for the season. Damned if I am not still using the second jar of Better than Bullion! Seriously, I did perhaps buy a bit too much of some things but boy was I spot on about the quantity of alcohol, coffee and pet food to load on board!!!

 

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No one regretted that huge box of brownie mix!!!

 

Checklists. We are big believers now in check lists…seems we tend to forget things or where we put things or what things we even have. We do have a small 5×10 ft storage space near Anacortes Washington where we keep all the stuff that we couldn’t part with or things we use seasonally on either the boat or the coach like the pressure washer or carpet cleaner. Some very, very good friends in Anacortes who have an amazing storage area under their garage also let us store some of our nicer wines there – thanks Millers!!! The other reason…the really big reason we have checklists for the coach and boat is it is easy to forget how to actually run, start or set up after we have been off the coach or boat for a season. Yikes, is it an age thing??? I keep telling myself, no..its because we aren’t doing it actively…you know use it or lose it!

 

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That was a fine line up of wines…thanks to the awesome wine cellar excel spread sheet that Wally keeps up.

 

Another lesson we learned during our first year that still holds true is….DON’T ALWAYS TRUST GOOGLE MAPS!!! Shit, Damn, Hell did we learn that one the hard way our first year on the road, more than once. We are right at 60 feet long with Ernie on the tow bar behind us. It isn’t easy turning the coach around when we are towing and we can’t back up at all with Ernie being towed so our maneuverability is limited. Best I can tell, Google maps doesn’t give a damn about that little but important factoid! Shortest or fastest route, sure thing. It can be so much more relaxing to get off the interstate and travel back roads or smaller highways so this year I have been especially diligent about looking at routes and roads and not just trusting google to get us there.

 

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This bridge kept getting narrower as we crossed the Snake River. I think we were both holding our breath until we got to the other side.

 

So what are we going to do this winter???
We arrived in gloriously warm Palm Springs in mid-November and settled in very quickly to our beautiful new site at the Outdoor Resort Palm Springs. We will be staying there all winter…yes, 5 months!!! Last winter we split our time between California and Arizona. In conclusion, thankfully we agreed that while we really like Arizona and have some wonderful friends there…the choices of RV Resorts in which one might want to spend the entire winter paled in comparison to the Outdoor Resort Palm Springs. Gravel lots with no landscaping or privacy vs lush green landscaping, loads of privacy, paved lots with palm trees and grass …hmm, sold! We also really like the ease of getting around Palm Springs, the access to great restaurants and all the fun active folks that we met there.

 

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Our beautiful winter backyard.

 

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Our favorite outdoor morning coffee spot.

 

We love exploring in the coach and there is so much of the US we still want to explore but really who wants to do that in the cold of winter? November through March is a great time to be hanging in a warmer climate but that criteria rules out a whole lot of the US.  In future winters, we would like to explore Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and over as far as Florida…well, once hurricane season is over. Our migration back and forth to the boat will be when we do our short hops, 1-2 weeks stops to explore other states like Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Nevada.

 

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So are you going to continue the mobile lifestyle???
Yes sir’ee Bob we sure are and have no plans to move back into a house at this point. North America is a big continent and best I can tell, we are not getting any younger so Carpe Diem…

 

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Off-line but back in the Desert

I have been off-line for over a month as my time has been mostly filled with helping my aging mother work through medical issues and a possible move to a senior community in Arizona. Getting old sucks best I can tell and getting old by yourself without a great support system double sucks.

My mother currently lives in Kentucky which for the most part has made helping her more challenging. Luckily, we have a good relationship, she trusts me but quite frankly doesn’t always heed my advice or follow through on some of her medical issues. Very frustrating for me??? Yes indeed it is and I often just have to take a deep breath, try to be patient and keep trying to move things along.

 

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There is nothing like a beautiful sunset to help make everything right in the world.

 

When my mother recently decided that it was just getting to hard to live alone in her cute 2 bedroom condo, I took her lead and got busy trying to find a senior community that would provide her more support, activities and social interaction with folks her own age.

We decided that Arizona would be a good place to look as she had lived there in the past and really liked the climate. Bonus points for the great availability of medical care and for at least being on the West Coast. Our route plan for the winter was perfect as we were going to be in Sedona Arizona in early October so I made plans to look at communities in Prescott, Peoria and Mesa.

Earlier in the year, I had reached out to an organization called A Place For Mom. A Place for Mom was founded 15 years ago to help families navigate the maze of senior housing options. The consultant that I have been working with was incredibly helpful and in addition to help with housing options she educated me on possible resources to consider in the future including financial aid, veterans benefits, etc.

Our week in Mesa was busy with Mom stuff but we did have time to see friends, take in a baseball game and do some hiking. We parked the coach at Usery Regional Park which is one of our favorite Maricopa County Regional Parks.

 

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Chilling in the desert…

 

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The Fall Star Game in Peoria Arizona was a blast.

 

The good news is we found a great senior community that I hope my Mother will love living in. She will still have her own apartment that opens onto a pretty courtyard with a pool. With a small kitchen and a screened in patio in the back she will still have lots of privacy but so many more options like assistance getting to the store, medical appointment, the bank or the post office. Both Wally and I really liked the setting and the community. We had lunch in the one of the dining rooms and I was giggling about how all the ladies coming to lunch were dressed up, had their faces on and looks so adorable. Being a southern lady, my mother will be right at home here…all her clothes have matching shoes, purses and jewelry! There are so many activities, 2 great dining rooms with white table clothes and menus, a hair salon, laundry service…heck, I could live there right now. Well, okay I would definitely have to step up on the snazzy outfits.

 

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So I am kinda color coordinated and have a kinda snazzy visor!!

 

Feeling good about our recommendations, we made the 5 hour drive to The Outdoor Resort Palm Springs in California where we are spending the winter. It has been great catching up with friends we met there last year, playing pickle ball, hiking and getting settled on our new lot. More on that soon….

Seeing my mother aging and how isolated she has become has been an up close and personal reminder to continue enjoying our gift of health, honor and cherish our dear friends and family and quite frankly, party like rock stars while we still can!!!

 

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