Monday, December 22, 2014

  • Hi Everyone, this is Kate. ....the copilot and passenger in the motor home. You will get the facts from Tom and the emotional impact of our journey from me. 
  • Besides all the activity around getting the house ready to sell, and the motor home ready for our journey, there has been a death in the immediate family, so we have been hosting out of town family members. As you can imagine, it has been quite stressful here the past two weeks. And we haven't been able to spend much time at the house because of hospital visits. In addition, all the people going in and out of the house have created chaos for our two cavalier spaniels and one cat. They have been used to nestling next to us on the furniture, but now that the furniture is gone and we are sitting on camping chairs, there is no room for them. We find them staring at us with sad and confused eyes, begging for life to go back to normal. Fortunately all three of our sweeties (pets) do well traveling in the motor home, so their trauma will be short lived.

  • Meanwhile, Tommy and I are also looking at each other with sad and confused eyes, begging for life to go back to normal. Our trauma will also be short lived.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Three days to go!

The buyers' home inspector completed his report and we have a few things to take care of- some small roof repairs, replacing the exhaust tubing for the dryer, and putting a sump pump in the crawl space. We are getting everything done for just over $1000. Not what we wanted to do after giving the buyers such a good deal on the house, but, hey, if that's what it takes to get on with our travels, so be it.

We will depart for Florida on Christmas Eve day. The closing will take place after we've left, but our realtor will handle everything on this end.

We are staging all the stuff that goes with us in the garage, next to the pile of stuff that's being donated. That way if the motor home fills up before everything is in it, we can just move the leftovers into the donate pile. "Must haves" become "nice to haves", and "nice to haves" become "donate." Kate just finished cleaning out the fridge and freezer. She filled up two garbage cans with stuff that we can't use or take with us.

So the journey will finally begin...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We're Still In Shock!

In October we decided that we would once again try to sell the house. At first we considered For Sale By Owner, but after a lot of research and soul searching, we decided to go with a Realtor (actually a husband and wife team who have sold several homes in our +55 community over the past couple years). 

Long story short, three weeks after listing the house, we got an offer. We countered, they accepted, and,since they've already sold their house, they want to be in ours by December 19! They are pre-approved for their mortgage, so barring something catastrophic during the home inspection, we will be full-timers on December 20th!

Oh, the lists, the lists! What doesn't fit in the MH must go! Donate, sell, throw away... making sure that our auto, rv and health insurance are able to be transferred. And of course, we are going on the assumption that everything goes as expected. We really don't want to get rid of all our stuff if the deal falls through.

So now we are figuring out our best options for the state to call home. We have concluded that for us it boils down to Texas or South Dakota. We have a pretty short timeline since we don't want to have a mailing address in one state and plates and licenses from another. We aren't really crazy about a trip to South Dakota in the middle of winter, so Texas seems to be the state we'll call home.

Escapee's can provide us with a mailing address and a permanent street address. They even have a brochure on their site called, How To Become a Real Texan.

Our first destination will be south to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where we've made reservations for a month. After that, it looks as if we'll meander across the Southeast to Polk County, Texas to take care of all the processes to become official Texans. 

After that, it's wherever the wind blows us...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Checking Out The Black Tank

We made a trip to Camping World primarily to dump and flush the black tank. Everything seems to flow okay through the tank, and it seems to be empty, so I guess we have sensor problems. After perusing the web, I can see that sensor problems are fairly common. Next time we're out, I will try the Geo method - water softener, dish soap and a little bleach, and see if that cleans off the sensors.

We have two dogs and a cat, and the dogs are absolutely fascinated with litter boxes, so we've been trying to figure out how to work that out in the motor home. We've decided to put the litter box in the shower, with a mat covering the drain. I bought a 1/16 x 1 x 36 inch strip of aluminum at Lowes, and bent it into a bracket that fits over the top of the shower stall, and then over the door. It holds the door open just enough for the cat to get through, but doesn' t allow the dogs access. It seems to be working very well so far.

We haven't figured out when our next trip out will be. With my current work schedule we have three days in a row available so we can't get far.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Maiden voyage of the Good Coach Molly B.

Well, it was the maiden voyage for us anyway. We took a three day shake down trip to Paris Mountain State Park near Greenville, SC. And yes, we've christened the rig Molly B. in remembrance of an old pet of ours.

The trip was only about forty miles from home, just in case something went wrong. We don't have a toad yet, so we were park-bound once we set up.

We made our reservations over the phone, so we didn't know exactly what the site would look like, other than the length of the pad. Unfortunately it turned out to be quite narrow, with a slight drop-off where we should have been able to set up our outdoor sitting area, so we pretty much just stayed in the coach for the three days. It wasn't a pull through site, and had trees pretty close to the pad, so I got to practice backing in with Kate's guidance - something we hadn't talked over prior to arrival so we had a few tense moments as we worked out hand signals and such.

That was fine because we needed to determine if all of us, Kate, me, two dogs and a cat, could survive close quarters for an extended time. And it worked out great. We were quite comfortable. The pets enjoyed being able to look out the windows and watch neighbors come and go. We discovered that we had all the room we really need, and have plenty of storage space for everything we need (so far) to be able to go full time.

We made a relatively extensive list of things we forgot to bring, most notably a cork screw. I opened two wine bottles with my pocket knife. The first one was successful. The second, not so much. While twisting the knife to remove the cork, the neck broke off the bottle, so we had to strain the wine through a paper towel prior to consuming it. No big deal in  the big scheme of things.

Of course it was raining when we had to break camp, so I was glad we hadn't opened the awning. Next was the stop at the sanitary dump station. This was the first time I'd used one of these and I was a little nervous. The drizzling rain didn't help me either. I dumped black water and then the grey, just as instructed. However, after I'd finished, I checked the level indicators inside, and the black water tank was still showing full. By this time I'd already put everything away, so I figure I'll stop over at Camping World soon and complete the job. I'm guessing that the black tank has two problems - blockage, and fouled sensors, so I'm planning on the bag of ice and possibly a wand treatment. We'll see...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Well, if anyone is still around, here is an update to a long quiet blog.

My last post was two years ago. That was when we were on Plan A. We have gotten to Plan D by now, and finally it's happened. We have an RV!

We've had the house on the market two times with different Realtors, with not one serious buyer showing up. That's discouraging! So we thought we'd try "For Sale by Owner." Just before we started advertising the house, a neighbor told us of a couple that was looking for a place in our area. And they wanted something that wasn't listed with a Realtor. Wow, we thought. This could be it! They made three visits to look over the place, and then opted out. It wasn't exactly that they were looking for at a price they wanted to pay. That just took the wind out of our sails.

We reexamined our situation, and came to the conclusion that the time just wasn't right. We'd given most of our furniture away, taken down all the wall decorations, and had been sitting on camping chairs for nearly two years - all for naught. We had a diesel truck that we'd been making payments on for two years in anticipation of getting a 5th wheel. We had been way too optimistic (some would say foolish) in our choices.

So we talked it over, and decided we were going to be here for awhile. We might as well be comfortable. Eventually we might get on the road, but it could be a few years down the road.

We purchased new dining room and living room furniture. We put pictures back up on the walls. We made our house a home again. We put the truck up for sale. No need to be making payments of over $500 a month on something we didn't need.

No bites on the truck. We were asking $7000 less than Kelly Blue Book and no bites. We live in the mountains of North Carolina, and everyone wants 4 wheel drive. Ours was 2 wheel drive - all we figured we really needed to pull a rig on the highway.

I was talking our situation over with a friend, and he suggested that maybe we could trade the truck in on a motor home. Motor home? We'd long ago decided that a 5th wheel was the way to go for us, but maybe...

Kate and I  talked it over and it seemed like a possibility. Maybe we could make that work. We had been working with a sales person for over a year at Tom Johnson Camping Center in Concord, NC, located about 120 miles east of us. Not the closed dealer around, but we really liked her. We gave her a call. She took all the info on the truck and shopped it with the used car dealers they worked with. A couple day later she called and said she could get us a little more than the pay-off on the truck if we wanted to trade it in. Okay - a start!

We asked her to let us know what she had in stock that might work out for us. That was on a Thursday. Saturday morning she called us. She had a coach that had just come in that morning on a trade. It was a 2007 38 foot Coachmen Cross Country diesel pusher. She knew it would go really quickly. Could we put a fully refundable deposit on it to hold it until we could get over there to look it over?

We put down $500. Two days later we drove to Concord to look it over. The coach was in excellent condition, with 52,000 miles. Inside and outside clean as a whistle. One big slide out. Cummins diesel and Allison transmission. Built in Onan 5500 watt generator. It had been kept in a garage when not being used. Beautiful - but how were we going to be able to afford this?

I'll spare you the details, but the dealership got us into the unit with payments that are only $40 a month more than we were paying on the truck. And that includes gap insurance and extended warranty on everything from "the driver's seat back." Not the engine, transmission, or frame, but everything else.

We picked up the rig last Saturday. Drove home in the pouring rain, through Charlotte traffic. Exhilarating and exhausting.

Kate is  busy decorating the interior, making it into "our place." I'm figuring out what will fit and where it will be stored. We won't be full-timing for a while. We have a house to sell. But we will be "shaking it down" on short trips, learning the ropes and having fun!

Here's a link to some pictures of the coach -The Sauntering Sampson's new home