Thursday, September 19, 2013

How we chose our "home"

How We Chose Our “Home”

Making the decision to full-time was just the start of many decisions to come.  When we came to this conclusion, we did not even have a camper of any sort, let alone one we could live in!  So, the conversation began regarding what time of unit we wanted.  We had to choose between a 5th wheel and truck or a motorhome and pull our Harley for transportation.  We looked at both and just kept going back to the idea of the 5th wheel.  For us, it just seemed roomier and homier than a motorhome in our price range.  Did we even want to keep the Harley?  That is where we started.  We decided that when it came time to sell our stick house, that would be the end of our Harley-riding days.  We felt we would be ready to let that chapter of our lives end as we began a new chapter – living and traveling in a 5th wheel.

Now, how to pick the 5th wheel we wanted.  After several years of dreaming, we got serious in February 2013.  Clark began searching the Internet for floor plans and specs.   He would capture the pictures and put them in a file.  We would enter the specs on a spreadsheet.   After we felt we had “seen ‘um all” (we could no longer find anything new out there), we began reviewing all of the pictures in the file.

We would look at the pictures of a unit and see if there was anything about it that would be a deal breaker, if so we moved it to another file – Not Interested.  This way we would know we had already considered that particular model.  In addition to analyzing the photos, we reviewed the specs from the spreadsheet on that unit.  If there was anything on the specs we didn’t like, we moved that unit to the “not interested” file.  We went down the line until we got down to 2 units.  We kept coming back to this Mountaineer.  There wasn’t really anything we couldn’t live with about it and there were a lot of things we were looking for in it.  We finally had a winner!  The problem was the particular model we liked was a 2012 – both the 2013s and 2014s had some differences we did not care for.  It was hard to find the older year and model we really desired because we wanted to buy new since we planned to live in it.  Finding a “new” 2012 in 2013 with the 2014s coming out was not easy, but Clark did find a few online.  We finally made a purchase but we had to drive from Kansas to Michigan to get it.  Wow!  But it was so worth it.  It is such a relief to have made the purchase so we could move on toward our goal.  It was really beginning to become an obsession. 

We love our new home and are excited to start our adventure, just not yet.  We still have a house to empty.  This will be truly difficult having lived in this house for 22 years.  Plus, this was the home Clark grew up in so he has even more memories.  When we begin to wonder what the heck we are doing, we look outside to the 5th wheel and see adventure calling to us and we are fortified and ready to go at it again.

Sandra announces retirement date of Oct 1, 2013

I have given my notice at work!!!  October 1st will be my last day on the job and then the fun begins.  Since the last blog we posted, we bought our new “home” – a 38’ Montana Mountaineer.  We love, love, love it! We are both excited and relieved to have finally made the purchase after years of “research” on the internet reading blogs, looking at floor plans, going to RV shows etc.  Now what?  Where to begin?

The next step is to start the process of getting rid of our “stuff.”  So, we had our boys and their wives do a walk-through of the house and they have decided on the furniture they each want.  Doug and Morgan were ready for the Hoosier in our kitchen so we went ahead and let them have it as they are setting up house since their marriage on May 31st.  But, where to put all of the stuff I had in that?  Good gravy that was hard to let go.  He’d like the desk anytime too because he will be going back to school and could use it to study.   Hummmm…where will all of the stuff in that go?  Chad was ready to take our dining room table…Hello!!!  Where does he think we will eat?  We had to say not yet to that one. 

We really haven’t had much time to get much further in this “process”.  Clark has been extremely busy keeping up with the mowing and trimming trees back that are hanging over the fields.  We have had quite a bit of rain so the grass is growing like crazy.  We have a lot of old shade which means a lot of old branches falling with every storm…some of them quite large.

Clark was visiting with a workman recently and talk of our full-timing plans came up.  He looked around and asked if we were seriously going to give this place up.  He commented on how private and serene it is here and that this is what most retirees desire to retire to not get away from.  It is a wonderful place.  We see so much wildlife, deer, turkeys, coyotes, and our favorite, a pair of Great Horned Owls.  They come out each evening, like clockwork, and have their area they hunt.  We follow their routine each evening because we know what trees they go to and the pattern of their flight.  They have gotten pretty used to us and land on the ground close to the house where we can see the yellow in their eyes.  It is so cool.  I will miss that the most, I believe.

 Yet, with this wonderful place comes a lot of work and with the age of the home, the well, the plumbing,  the electrical…there are always issues popping up and things needing to be done and THAT is what we desire to leave behind.  In addition, we really want to travel about and see small towns, state parks, zoos, libraries...these things seem to call to us to explore places we have never been before.  We know our decision is the right one but the actual business of getting there seems overwhelming but possible. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Our first move

Backing up a 38 foot 5th wheel is more of a challenge than I expected.  We ended up mainly pulling forward and then unhitched.  Backing up will be lots of fun when we have to navigate around the trees in the yard.  We currently are parked in the back yard where we have a 30 amp hookup.  We still have not used our 5th wheel.  We haven't even turned on the AC.  Maybe we will turn on the AC so that we might even sleep in it tonight.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Well, not totally true!

We really are still in Kansas...for now, anyway.  We have dreamed of retiring and traveling around the U.S. in a 5th wheel - not in a tornado or a hot air balloon for Wizard of Oz fans - for many years, and now as we get closer to fulfilling that dream, we decided to blog about our preparations and our eventual travels. 

Our goal is to hit the road by July 2014, just Clark and me (Sandy) and our dog, Lulu.  Clark retired at the age of 56 in June of 2012.  I am 50 and would have to work another 9 years before I would be eligible to retire.  Since neither of us wants to wait that long, we began talking seriously of doing it much sooner.  So, after much talk and actually writing out the pros and cons, we have decided that I will quit my job this December and after Christmas is over, we will set out on the yellow brick road, not to Oz, but to someplace warmer than Kansas! We would stay for the winter and consider it to be a practice run.  It will give us an opportunity to live in our 5th wheel and figure out what we really need and what we we can live without.  Then, in the spring, we will return to our home in Kansas and sell it all, then hit the road full-time in our 5th wheel by the end of summer 2014.

Sounds like a great plan!  One problem...we don't have a 5th wheel!  Just a minor issue, right?!  We bought a GMC 2500HD Duramax with Allison transmission a year and a half ago and are now looking for our future "home".  We are hoping to have it purchased by the end of June.  We have been preparing for this adventure for many years now.  I gave Clark a membership to Escapees as a Christmas gift 3 years ago.  We have been reading their magazines cover to cover and gone back and read them again.  We are also Good Sam members and have a subscription to Trailer Life.  We have read many blogs that have been very helpful as well.  In addition, Clark has read quite a few books.  I will list those later for those of you who may be interested in them.   We have gone to several RV shows and looked at a lot of rigs.  We just haven't found "the one" yet.  We'll keep you posted on that as we go along.

For now, we will continue with the plan we have set. We look forward to sharing this adventure with you.