Friday, April 27, 2012

What Happened To Spring

The camper was cool this morning.  Checking the indoor/outdoor thermometer revealed 38 degrees outside and 59 degrees inside.  Brrrr!  Turned on the heater fast, but it took awhile to get up to 66 or so inside the camper.  One of the propane tanks went dry and I wasn't too sure how full the other tank was; so off to the propane company I go.  Took the pooches for a ride; they love going for a ride.  Coming back into the RV Park I observed something that I had never seen or heard of; a magpie and a squirrel appeared to be playing together.  The magpie was flying just above and behind the squirrel.  When the squirrel went up a tree, the magpie followed.  I thought maybe the magpie was attacking the squirrel, but they continued this activity for several minutes and it sure looked like "play" to me.  Very weird.

The last of the boxes were unloaded from the car and the truck.  Much sorting followed with three options; keep, donate or trash.  Well, it is finally finished.  We probably added another 50 lbs. to our overweight status.  Oh well!  We will thin things out over time, hopefully not too much time.

Not much excitement today after the drama yesterday.  Did some shopping at Albertsons and Wal-Mart.  Picked up a fire safe for valuable papers.  Not good for security since it has a handle, weighs only about 15 lbs and can't be bolted to something (wouldn't know where to bolt it anyway).  So if we ever have a fire; the will, vehicle titles, birth certificates, etc. should survive.

Some of our friends are asking how we feel, if we have any regrets, etc.  Frankly, what I am feeling is a culmination of a dream; the realization of an objective.   Walking out of the stick and siding home was a "freeing" experience; like a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders.  I often think that although our home is smaller, our yard is bigger and I don't have to mow, edge, weed, spray or feed any of it.  Life is good.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Trouble In Paradise

A couple of minor glitches in the camper condition today.  This morning I noticed some screws protruding from the underside of my overhang.  Good thing I saw them first, and did not discover them by having my head come in contact with one of them.


So I called Tim, the RV guy, and he came over to see what happened.  Turned out that in securing the carpet in the bedroom, he use screws that were 3/4 of an inch toooooo long.  Well, he replaced the screws and sealed the holes with a strip of adhesive rubber.


Then, when we returned from our final “wipe down” of the house, I notice this:


So I go outside and check on the window and this is what I see:


When we arrived back at the campground, one of the staff was out with the riding lawnmower.  It was apparent that the lawnmower picked up a rock, which ricocheted off another rock and flew up and hit our window.  So about 11:00 am I report to the campground management what I thought happened.  Within 20 minutes the guy who did the mowing came by and accepted responsibility.  About 30 minutes after that a mobile RV service showed up and assessed the situation.  He gave me two options; replace the broken window with Plexiglass today or replace the window with the reflective tempered glass (like the original) which would take two weeks.  They would have to take the window out for measuring, cut the glass, send the cut glass to Salt Lake City for tempering and bring it back and install it.  I opted for the quick fix.   Four hours after reporting the damage, the window was replaced.  From the inside I could not tell the difference.  From the outside, it is apparent the new window is not reflective glass. Here is the result:


So, that was our excitement for the day.  We did finish getting absolutely everything out of the old house.  Rosie cleaned and vacuumed like crazy; I mowed the lawn for the last time and we are done.  All we have to do now is go back Sunday afternoon and take out the trash for pickup on Monday morning.  Sometime Monday we close and we are free; free at last, of being tied down to one fixed location.  How wonderful.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Relief Is In Sight

Finally, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it isn't a train.  While I stayed in our new home this morning, Rosie went back to the old home and got a lot of major cleaning done.  At 10:00 am, Tim the RV guy and his wife Annette came to the site to finish the final touches on the refrigerator.  It now goes to gas when the AC is turned off.  He also disabled two circuit breakers so we, or inquisitive grandchildren, wouldn't fry the inverter systems by flipping the breakers to ON.  I paid them for all the work they have done over the last two months to bring our '97 Alpenlite into the 21st century, RV wise.  The inside feels like new due to the new carpet and I know we will really get our value out of the solar panels and inverter installations.  I discussed the weight situation with Tim and he suggested that we shift as much weight forward over the front stabilizers and the hitch if we could not reduce weight.  Good advice, I thought.

I wandered over about 2:00 pm with the dogs to see how things were going.  My bride inherited "The White Tornado" syndrome from her mom.  She even mopped the floor of the garage, along with cleaning the utility room, vacuuming the entire basement and scrubbing down the basement bathroom.  Things are really looking good.

Our good friend, Joe Hayes, took delivery of the last big items in the house; the refrigerator, a king size bed and the grill.  He brought over a couple of muscular young fellas to manhandle these items out of my house and into his house about a block and a half away.  I figured the lawn needed some watering so I put out the sprinkler and hose for awhile.  Of course that brought in a thunderstorm with a good downpour a couple of hours later.

We loaded the car and the truck with some last minute items to bring to the site.  Tomorrow we will devote time to sorting and selecting final items to go, or not to go, with us when we leave here.  No visit to the old house tomorrow.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Very Exhausting Day.

Second only to Saturday's Moving To Our RV sale, this was a tiring day.  Went through the house and sorted everything left into two piles; one pile for the Humane Society to pick up and another pile to be transferred to the camper.  Heck, we are already 200 lbs overweight, and we have more "stuff" that needs to be with us (we think).  There will be some more sorting and separating of stuff before this is all over.  By the time we have to move on May 19th, we will have determined that some "necessities" are only "wants".  Did all of you go through this process before hitting the road big time?

The Humane Society folks and the buyers of my big oak office wall unit showed up about the same time, 4:30 pm.  It was after 5:30 before we could load up the pooches and stop at KFC on the way home.  We seldom do fast food take out, but we had Papa Murphy's on Saturday and KFC tonight.  All the calories I burned with all this activity got replaced with high calorie, fatty fast food.  It was wonderful to get back to the peaceful, serene campsite and gobble down the calories.  Now after an adult beverage (or two), my feet are bare and I am in the beginning of a comfort zone.  Ooh, bare feet on new carpet; how good can it get?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 4 of our new lifestyle.

Life is good at the Snake River RV Park.  Usual Sunday evening meal of sirloin steak (for me) and salmon (for Rosie); alongside a baked potato loaded with butter and sour cream, and asparagus.  Pooches are happy to get a little taste of the steak and salmon (surf and turf for puppies). 

Got the DirecTV set up today so Rosie can watch Army Wives.  So now we have over the air TV and satellite TV.  Hope to finish installing the antenna for the satellite radio soon and we will be hooked up to the world.  The wonderful part is that all of our entertainment is running off inverter power from our battery bank.  That means all this stuff works whether we have shore power or not.  Also found out the RV Park may start Honey Wagon service a week early, this Tuesday instead of next Tuesday.  That means I won’t have to hook up and go to the dump station this week.

Wrapped up the garage sale at noon today.  Had all of 10 or 12 people come by.  We are very satisfied that we sold all of our furniture and higher value items.  All we have left is lesser value items in small tools, clothing and household decor.  It will all go to the Humane Society of the Upper Valley.  They are coming by with boxes and a truck tomorrow afternoon.  We are proud to support animals in need.

I weighed the rig for the first time this last Thursday.  I calculate that the rig is 200 lbs. overweight without a full tank of fresh water.  Anybody out there know the ramifications, or consequences, of having an overweight rig?  I would appreciate your thoughts.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Uncontrolled Chaos

I never knew so many people wanted to buy all our stuff.  Our garage sale was listed in the paper as opening at 8:00 am.  When we arrived at 7:00 am, two guys in pickup trucks were parked in front of the house.  They rolled down their windows and asked when we were going to open.  I said 8:00 o’clock.  By 7:30 there were 10 vehicles parked out front and people pacing up and down the sidewalk.  I needed to open the garage door to start moving stuff to the driveway and front lawn.  It was like opening a floodgate.  The first hour was a blur.  After that if became manageable and by 1:00 it was pretty much over.  Not much left for tomorrow.  A friend from the local dog shelter group came by and told us they would be happy to pick up any leftovers for their annual flea market later this spring.  I think we give them a call tomorrow afternoon.  We stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home (still seems strange to call our campsite “home”) to pick up some grub for dinner.

IMG_4728      IMG_4731

The pooches didn’t eat at all yesterday and weren’t interested in food today until we doctored up their Iam’s  with some grilled Italian sausage and chicken broth.  Then they ate just fine.  I settled back in the recliner with an adult beverage and Rosie poured some fermented grape juice.  After dinner, I started hooking up the TV.  I got the over the air working for local channels, but ran into a roadblock with the DirecTV setup.  I had just upgraded to a DVR receiver and I forgot how to get the satellite direction readings from the setup menu.  Now I have to find the Owner’s Manual.  Good guess where that is. Oh, well!  I have several weeks at this site to work out all the initial glitches.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Official Full Timers At Last.

April 19th, 2012.  We are spending our first night as full timers.  What a challenge it has been for the last two days.  We picked up our camper yesterday and brought it home about 2:00 pm.  Today at 3:00 pm we pulled away from the old stick and siding house and traveled all of five miles to Snake River Park and Campground.  This is a former KOA with the usual close spacing, etc.  However, I had reserved an site on the end Section C so we don’t have neighbors outside our front door.  The monthly rate is $400 plus $75 for electricity.  Works out to about $16 a night with electric and water.  That also includes a honey wagon coming around to empty our tanks twice a week.  However, that does not start until May 1st; so we will need to be aware of our water use for 11 days.  Here is a picture of us in our site:


As we were setting up our neighbor in the motor home came by to chat.  Turns out they are full timers from Ontario, Canada  on their way north after spending the winter in So. Cal and AZ.  When I told him it was our first night out as full timers, he welcomed us to the club and said he enjoys it immensely.

Poor Sammy and Annie, our fur kids, have been wondering for days what the heck is going on.  They have been keeping a close eye on us for sure.  When the camper showed up in front of the house, they did not move far from the front door.  Every time we would take a load out the front door, they would be there with look like “Well, are we going too, or are you going to abandon us here to survive on our own”.  When we opened the back door of the truck and let them out the front door, they made a beeline for their usual place in the back of the crew cab.

Tomorrow will be another long day setting up for our Moving To An RV sale that runs Saturday and Sunday.  Fortunately we have sold almost all of our “big stuff” through Craigslist, what a deal that is; free advertising that works really well. 

Well, I am beat again tonight.  I managed to sleep in until 4:30 this morning.  It is 9:15 now and time to call it nighty night.  Will keep you all posted as we go along.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eve of Full Timing

Well, it has finally arrived.  The last night we will spend in our stick house.  We picked up the camper from the RV Shop today at 1:00 pm.  Still some last minute small details to take care of, but we will get a service call at our campsite soon.  Here is a picture of our old home and our new home:


We started loading up Alphie (our Alpenlite) this afternoon.  I disinfected the fresh water tank and filled it half full of nice fresh water.  Here is a photo of our new home through the front picture window of our old home:


Tomorrow we finish transferring everything we plan to take with us on our journey and move over to the Snake River RV Park and Campground.  I have reserved a great site there for the next month.  Friday we work on setting up what is left of our worldly possessions for a moving sale on Saturday and Sunday.  After that we have seven days to clear out everything that is left and clean up the house for the new owner.  We met the new owner this week when he came with the Home Inspector.  A really nice young fella and he is so excited to be getting his first home.  The word from the realtors is that closing date is April 30th.

Here are some pictures of the inside of Alphie showing off the new carpeting, paint, wallpaper border and slideout trim:

IMG_4711   IMG_4712

   Before the table is set in place                                            My lovely bride vacuuming her new carpet.

IMG_4713  IMG_4717

    Bath hallway and bedroom.                                                     Everything in it’s place and ready to go.

I would love to write about all the exciting and emotional feelings we are experiencing, but I am dead tired.  I woke up at 2:00 am this morning and was too excited to go back to sleep, so I was up at 3:30.  I will be writing more often now that I will have something to write about.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Accelerated Timetable

Thursday afternoon my phone rings and it is the realtor with good news and bad news.  The good news is the 1st and the 2nd Mortgage banks have approved the short sale.  The bad news is the closing date is moved up to April 30th.  We have no choice in the matter; closing must be 4/30/12.

OK.  So our fiver is still in the shop getting the new carpet installed and the wheel bearing pack and spring checkout still need to be done.  My RV guy was distracted from our rig work by a full timer in a motor home that needed to get on the road because of a family emergency.  So after several conversations with the realtor, the RV shop and my patient spouse; we come up with a plan.  The RV shop will finish the carpet install and the spring checkout by Tuesday evening (come heck or high water) and we will pick up the rig Wednesday morning.  We will defer the bearing pack until later in May.  That gives all day Wednesday and half of Thursday to transfer our “stuff” that we are taking with us into the camper.  Thursday afternoon we will check in for a month at the Snake River RV Park and Campground here in Idaho Falls.  So Friday morning we will wake up on the first day of our “Full Time” RV lifestyle.

It will take all day Friday to get everything in the house set up for display and priced for our super, duper moving out sale on Saturday and Sunday.  We have sold most of the big “stuff” on Craigslist (what a wonderful advertising resource at no cost), so we are down to a lot of small “stuff”.  That will give us a week to take whatever is left over to the church, local charity or the dump; and clean up the house and yard for the new owner.

I will post pictures of the new spiffy interior of Alphie later this week; along with an update of how the transfer into the camper all worked out.  In the meantime we need to consume most of the groceries in the fridge and pantry to reduce inventory to camper size.  It is going to be a busy 5 days.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

We are getting closer.

Much progress since my last post.  The electrical work with the Solar Panels and the Inverters is complete.  The carpet installation has begun.  After the carpet work, there will be the wheel bearing pack and brake inspection; then the Spring Checkout for the heater, hot water heater, refrigerator, stove, grease the slides, and other de-winterizing processes.

Here are some photos showing various stages of the progress:

IMG_4683  IMG_4702

Before and after of the solar panels on the roof.

IMG_4672  IMG_4696

Basement Area:  Note the new central power block in the lower right corner.  This brings all the connections inside the basement and I only have to hook up 2 cables in the battery compartment instead of 7 cables.

IMG_4652   IMG_4662

IMG_4687 Three stages of carpet replacement.

IMG_4698   IMG_4692

      Inverters installed and functioning                                Solar Panel Monitor

The RV Shop is shooting for completion on Friday, but it could be Monday when all is said and done.

On the house front, nothing new on the Short Sale approval from the First Mortgage Co., but my realtor says “No news is good news” at this stage.  We are continuing to clear out the “stuff” from the house.  We rented a PO Box at UPS and a storage space on Monday.  The walls of the house are looking a little bare.  It is amazing how much photos and art on walls make a home.  Unfortunately, there is minimum wall space in a camper and mounting pictures is a whole different process (anyone have good ideas on how to mount stuff to walls so it doesn’t fall off when in motion?).

So we expect to bring the camper to the house next week and start moving stuff in.  There is a 24 hour limit on street RV parking (if someone complains), so we hope the neighbors will be nice.  One of our neighbors has had his small travel trailer in front of his house for a couple of weeks, so I am hopeful we will have some time to load up.  If not, I will have to keep moving it around to avoid the “abandoned vehicle” statue.  Such fun!