Saturday, October 27, 2007

Getting Started

Several friends have suggested that I start an online travel journal of our adventures as full timers. I’ve kept personal journals off and on most of my life, so I decided to give this a try.

My husband, Jim, and I had a disastrous first camping trip soon after we were married. We swore we’d never camp again. It was 14 years later when one day I asked him if he’d consider camping again. His eyes lit up as he said yes! When I asked why he hadn’t said anything to me all this time, his reply was that he wanted to stay married to me! That day began our adventure back into camping.

We outfitted ourselves with tent, sleeping bags and all the accompaniments and spent a few weekends in the Colorado mountains. Not long after, we upgraded to a used pop-up trailer. Soon after that, a 25’ travel trailer graced our rv parking spot. It seemed like no time passed and we fell into a great deal on a 36’ motor home.

Next thing we knew, it was time to retire and do some serious traveling. At the time, we only planned to travel part time. No full timing for us. The summer I retired we spent most of the time on the road, visiting relatives in Oklahoma and Texas. By the time we returned to our home in Colorado Springs, we knew we wanted to sell the house and move into the motor home.

We had reservations for a Good Sam Caravan to the 2007 Rose Parade, followed by a month in Apache Junction, Arizona. On December 17, 2006, we pulled out of Colo. Spgs. a day ahead of a massive blizzard. We stayed ahead of the storm all the way across New Mexico and Arizona on the way to spend Christmas and New Years in California.

During our stay in Arizona, which we extended from one month to three, we spent many hours floating in the warm water of the swimming pool, planning our transition to the full time RV life. The plan was to prepare the house for selling and get it on the market by the end of April. Hoping for a quick sale, we wanted to be on the road in early summer.

We returned to Colo. Spgs. on March 15, 2007. Instead of moving back into the house, we parked in our RV spot next to the house, plugged in and settled in. For the next month and a half we worked on the house, getting it empty and ready to sell. We certainly went against convention by moving everything out instead of “staging” it. Our friend and real estate agent wanted us to use a company that provides renters who live in the house and use their own furniture to stage it for selling. We decided to try it our way for 30 days, then let this company find someone to move in. Good thing, as the very first person who looked at our house bought it. It wasn’t on the market even 24 hours.

The next thing we needed to do was find Jim’s mom a place to live in Arlington, Texas. We’d decided that since we were responsible for her care, it would be better to have her in a location we could get to even in the winter, and where she would be near other family. Since her sister lives in Arlington, that would be the place.

In May, we spent 3 weeks in Arlington finding her a place and getting things set up for her. In June, we arranged for her move and got her settled in. We took off for the road at last near the end of July. The plan was to visit friends in Missouri, Alabama and Mississippi, then spend some time on the South Carolina Coast. We’d been gone about 3 weeks when we got the call from Jim’s aunt saying his mom was sick and they were getting her to the hospital. We were in Springfield, Missouri at the time. The next morning we pulled out and headed back to Arlington. The diagnosis was not good – 3 brain tumors, only one of which was operable. We settled in at Treetops Village RV park and prepared for her care. Fifty eight days later, she passed away.

Our decision to go full time was influenced first by my sister and brother in law. They were full timers for about 2 ½ years. I loved hearing about all their travel adventures. On our first trip after retirement, we met a couple who had recently started full timing. She told me about Howard and Linda Payne of, and I started reading their journal, which led me to other online journals and other full timers.

Another factor in our decision was budget. With our retirement pensions we could live comfortably either in a house with all the related expenses, or in the motor home with all those related expenses. Doing both, however, would be a squeeze. The call of the road was strong. The call of the house and yard maintenance was weak. Obviously, the house lost, and here we are.

Who are we? A fairly typical baby boomer couple, in our mid-to-late 50's. We both had careers with Colo. Spgs. Utilities and both retired in 2006. We are a blended family with my 2 sons and his 1 daughter. Between us we have 6 grandchildren, the youngest of whom is 9. We enjoy fishing, photography, music, traveling, cooking (oh yeah, and eating said cooking), playing cards and visiting with friends and family. Jim loves to grill and try new recipes with chilies. He was somewhat of a star in our circle of friends with his home-canned, award-winning, salsa. He grew up in Texas, and I grew up in Colorado Springs. I mess around some with genealogy and have put together a little booklet of my family’s history. One of the activities I’d like to pursue on the road is further family history research.

We both hope you enjoy reading about our travels. We also look forward to meeting our online friends in person!


Aunt Ruth said...

I love your blog, but then I also love you guys, and the dogs. I will be reading every day. By the way, I am the aunt from Arlington. Love you. Aunt Ruth

JB said...

Thought I would come back here and see how it all began..