Downsizing – Not quite there yet

As mentioned the other day, we packed a lot of “must have” stuff into our Pace Arrow Vision 36B just prior to heading out last Friday as full-timers. So, yesterday, today and probably for the next few days, we have been going through boxes and storage containers throughout the coach in an effort to separate reality from “must have”. Sharon is working on the interior, while I am concentrating on the basement compartments. This is but one photo example.

Basement Organizing 2When we pulled out of the Apple Valley driveway for the last time, EVERY basement storage compartment was full AND we had major clutter going on inside the coach. Obviously, for the long haul, this is not going to work for very long. And so, we’ve begun downsizing once again. Does it ever end? In any event, now is the time while we’re here parked for the month of July and somewhat near our storage unit in the Hinterior clutter 2igh Desert.

The good news is that since I began this post, we now have two basement storage units completely empty with more to follow, and the interior is SO free of clutter that we actually had dinner at the dinette table pictured at left.

The other day, I actually was giving thought to changing the “Preparing for a Fulltime RV Lifestyle” byline associated with this blog since we are now officially full-timing it. Maybe we’re still in the “preparing” stage after all. 🙂

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Jojoba Hills RV Resort- Escapees Co-Op

About nine months ago, we became Escapees members. Those that are full-time RVers, and many who are RV enthusiasts, are very aware of Escapees RV Club, based out of Livingston, Texas. As advertised, Escapees is ” A Total Support Network for All RVers”. The Club provides a whole range of services, and also has Co-Op and other relationships with a number of private RV parks. One of these parks is Jojoba Hills, just outside of Temecula in Southern California. This is a private 55+ RV community available to Escapees members to rent on a space available basis. And it is our home for the next month.

We arrived on Friday a bit later than planned. Because the office was closed by then, we had arranged to stay in the boondocking area ($5 per day for members) for our first night. So, Saturday was moving day into the park to our “permanent” site. The park, developed in the early 1990s, is in a setting of rolling hills and boulders, many as big as buildings. Complemented by meticulous landscaping, 6 small ponds and a couple of waterfalls with contemplation benches, as well as babbling brooks, the park is quite beautiful and peaceful. But the really neat benefit while living here, are the amenities that include a wood and metal shop, sewing room, billiard room, a near olympic size swimming pool, two spa/jacuzzis, mens and womens sauna rooms, a fitness center, a library, three separately located laundramats and more.

                                                                                                                                                               Yesterday was the 4th of July.  We spent some tiPool 2me in the pool, and then joined other members of the community for a chicken dinner at the Friendship Hall clubhouse.

4th of July Chicken Dinner 2

Pictured below, from left, are our new found dinner companions and friends Mike, Denise, Nikki and Joe…and Sharon.

All in all, not a bad start to this full-time RV lifestyle.

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Day 1

It was years in the planning, months in implementation, and weeks of really hard work. WAY BEYOND what we imagined. Particularly, when the weeks turned into the final days. Through it all, we wondered if we were paying for our sins, cast up as 35 years of materialism needing to be exorcised.

But as is always the case in life, time marches on and the “day” for which you have been planning and working toward finally arrives, ready or not. Today is that day. Day 1 as a full-time RVer.

As mentioned in our last episode, we went bonkers and bought another motorhome. Everyone has TWO motorhomes, right? Well, WE do. And it certainly wasn’t part of the plan. At least not now. Of course we don’t intend to keep two motorhomes. We will be putting our beloved Bounder up for sale in the very near future. We have a friend who may have an interest. But if she doesn’t take it, it will be posted on RV Trader.

Aside from the fact that we spent time and money completely upgrading our Bounder, as has been documented in past blog posts, the reality is that it just was not going to be big enough for full-timing. Our extended trips last fall and winter kind of proved that. But if those trips were not enough, what we have packed into our new-to-us Pace Arrow Vision leading to Day 1 is WAY beyond what we would have gotten into the Bounder. Of course, we already know there will be further downsizing while on the road. But between selling things, donating things, trashing things or storing things, we still had a bunch of “must have” stuff that had to be with us on the road. Or, at least that was our thinking as we headed out today to Jojoba Hills SKP (Escapee) Park, just outside of Temecula, California. We will be staying here for the next month, in part so that I can have what I hope is minor foot surgery at the Loma Linda VA hospital in July.

I’ll be posting regarding Jojoba Hills soon. A lot of fellow full-timing bloggers have stayed here. Most really like it. I’m sure we will as well. Stay tuned.

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OMG – We WERE 26. Now we’re 16.

OMG! We have completely lost our minds. If you have been following our blog and our “Preparing for a Full-time RV Lifestyle”, you know that we are now down to our last seven days before going full-time. And you have followed along as we spent the last many many months downsizing. We’ve sold vehicles and held garage sales. and now, as I write this, we are literally sitting in an almost empty house. Just one or two trips to our storage unit or dumpster and we’re ready for a final carpet and house cleaning prior to turning over the keys.

And most importantly, you have followed our time and money spent in installing solar and other equipment and otherwise remodeling our low mileage vintage Bounder, which we have owned since new and purchased 26 years ago.

Everything, it seems, is coming together after a long time in the planning. We’re down to the wire. Dim the lights. It’s nearly “showtime”.

So why were we down in San Diego yesterday, a drive of about 2 hours one way?

A few posts back, I wrote about “temptation” as it relates to our inclination to be looking at other motorhomes, specifically either a new to us Holiday Rambler or Monaco. Almost anything would be “new to us” since ours is a 1990 Bounder. Here’s a pic as a reminder…

Part of Circle 2

It’s the one on the left.  😁 Click on photo to enlarge. Pretty good looking old girl huh? Previously, I’ve mentioned how pristine and well-equipped it is for full-timing AND boondocking. It’s absolutely in great shape, mechanically and otherwise. So why the “temptation”?

Obviously, we’ve been struggling. We’re pretty sure that, with a full-time RV lifestyle, we are going to want/need more space. Both inside and outside the rig. And we were wanting something that was a bit more upscale with more amenities. That caused us to gravitate toward older but “new to us” Holiday Ramblers or a Monaco, among others.

Even so, we kept asking ourselves “why are we doing this?”. And why at this time? Don’t we have enough on our plate? And yet, we kept looking.  And doing online research while simultaneously communicating with sellers. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve sent messages to sellers asking “is your coach still available?”.

After all the research that we had done, we were pretty certain of what we wanted in a new to us coach. Very specific things, including two slides, a real shower, a double door refrigerator/freezer with ice maker, space for a future washer/dryer,  upscale decor throughout, and a quality and shiny exterior with excellent graphics that were not faded or sunbaked.  And, we were convinced that IF we acquired a newer motorhome it would be either a Monaco or a Holiday Rambler.

Then we saw this … Click to enlarge.

Driver Side View_Slide OutIt’s a 2000 Pace Arrow Vision. And yesterday, we drove the two hours down to San Diego to take a look at it. It had everything we were looking for inside and out. Nearly new as to condition with only 44,000 miles. Really, really well cared for. And we negotiated an unbelievable price. We could not have been happier after spending considerable time going over it with a critical eye, and then taking it out for a drive. By last night at about 8:30 p.m., it was in our driveway not too far from our Bounder which, sadly, will be offered for sale shortly. We love our Bounder, but it’s time for it to have a new home…just like us. 🙂

 

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T-Minus

See, this is the problem. You get so tied up with “preparing for the full-time RV lifestyle”, that there’s no time for blogging about what you’ve been doing to “prepare”. Next thing you know, it’s T-Minus 20 days to full-time status, prepared or not, ready or not.

As I write this, we are into the second and final day of the LAST yard sale we will EVER have. Never say nEVER? I’m saying nEVER! This is our second yard sale in the last month. The first one was a huge success. And this one has been successful so far. But you never get rid of everything. And, in our case, whatever does not find a home by this afternoon is heading to one of two churches…or to the dumpster. One thing is for sure, none of it will be returning to the house, the garage, or our storage facility.

Speaking of the house and garage, both are nearly empty at this point. For the past two months, we’ve either sold stuff, or stored stuff, or tossed stuff. We’re essentially down to our bed, two recliners, the TV, the washer & dryer, and the refrigerator.

And speaking of selling stuff, as has been mentioned previously, we have had a gaggle of vehicles to get rid of, including two Mazda Miatas, a Honda Civic, a Ford Expedition and a car trailer. So far, we’re keeping our Honda Goldwing motorcycle. And the Miatas sold a few months ago.

The Lord truly works in mysterious ways. We advertised the Honda Civic on Craigslist. Almost immediately, we sold it to Sharon’s bible study leader for her daughter away at college. When they came to look at it, they brought their adult son. He bought the car trailer. We explained that we needed the trailer until the end of June. He said “no problem” and paid for it. He’ll pick it up when we’re done with it.

We have a dear friend from the local Methodist church helping us with the yard sale. This morning, her daughter brought her to drop her off. Five minutes earlier, I had put a For Sale sign on the Expedition and parked it so yard sale attendees would be sure to see it. Our friend’s daughter, knowing they needed a dependable truck or SUV, asked her mother why she had not bought it earlier. Her mom replied “because they didn’t have it for sale”, which was true. Her daughter asked me a few questions and said “take the for sale sign off of it, it’s sold”. And she immediately paid for it. Even though we need IT until the end of the month. Sold in less than five minutes.

Everything above was written yesterday. Now it’s today, Sunday. The yard sale ended yesterday. It WAS a success. And afterward, it got even better.

Previously, I had threatened that whatever was going out for the yard sale was never to return into the house, the garage or our storage unit. During the day Saturday, we made the decision to donate everything to the local Methodist church. Our friend, the one who bought the Expedition, arranged for her son to bring his truck and trailer after the yard sale had concluded. He does this kind of thing for a living. He’s an excellent packer. And pack he did. Although we sold A LOT of stuff, we had a lot to get rid of. Imagine 35 years of materialism in your driveway…a long driveway.

Anyway, within about an hour and a half after the yard sale, everything was gone. Poof. All gone. I cannot adequately relay to you how freeing it is after over a year of downsizing, to FINALLY look at a nearly empty house with T-Minus less than 20 days and counting.

 

 

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Temptation

Every once in awhile, I find myself drifting over to EBay just to check out motorhomes that are listed there. I really know next to nothing about the Monaco brand of coach. And when it comes to the various models offered by Monaco, I know even less. But I know what I like when I see it. And I’ve decided that temptation is a Monaco Diplomat.

Why? I haven’t a clue. Maybe it’s because they always look nice, regardless of year. And they seem to have creature comforts that are of interest to me compared to what I’m used to in our beloved but aged Bounder. AND, they are affordable. At least used ones can be; say one that is 10 years or so past new.

So why am I even looking? Now THAT is a very good question. We’re really not in the market. We have a perfectly good Class A “coach” which, aside from its age, is almost new in every other respect. Only 40,000 miles on the odometer. Remodeled interior, new tires, new coil spring front suspension replacing the air bags, new starting and auxiliary batteries, solar charging, new 200o watt inverter, new 4-phase converter with smart technology, new flat panel TV’s and, most recently, satellite TV via DISH. And, most important, it suits us.

Except for the bathroom and shower. We don’t have much of either. When I’m tempted to look at other, newer coaches, the first thing I look at is the shower. I guess as the years went by, the manufacturers of these land yachts started thinking about larger bath and shower areas because most have them. Some even separate the two. Ours is more along the lines of a broom closet. A small broom closet.

And, in spite of problems that we have heard of more than a few times, a slide-out or two, or three, would be nice. And then there is the washer/dryer combo. And the list goes on. Levelers, rear camera, driver side door, etc., etc.

Of course, at some point temptation gets trumped by reality. Our motorhome is paid for. If we upgraded to another, newer coach, we’d likely finance a portion of the purchase. While that’s not a deal killer, it is an expense we don’t need to have. At least for the time being. There’s something wonderfully satisfying and “freeing” about NOT having monthly payments.

Nevertheless, we decided to take a day trip to a dealer not far from us, whose inventory we had been viewing on EBay. Temptation never rests.

We might have resisted had it not been that on this same day, when we thought we might have a recurring problem with the air conditioning on our Bounder, we received a call telling us the AC was fine but we had a leaking water pump on the engine. To replace a water pump in a motorhome is very labor intensive. Yikes.

Upgrading to a newer coach was not going to change anything. We would still have to replace the pump. But maybe a few hours “looking” would be good for the soul or something. So off we went. OMG, what an experience.

And, we’ll tell you about it in our next post.  Also, just to let you know, we had a great yard sale. We’ll be filling you in about that in an upcoming post as well. And it’s good that it was successful, cause I have a water pump to replace.

Happy Trails!

 

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Beating the Yard Sale Drum

We are scheduled to have our first yard sale this weekend. I am NOT excited. I should be, but I’m not. I’m good at logistics and planning. Dealing with the bargain hunting public, not so much. Even though I may be good at planning for an event such as a yard sale, I’m never quite ready enough. In my mind, there’s always something yet to be done. Something unfinished.

That’s why it’s good that I have Sharon as a partner. Her attitude is nearly always positive with a bit of “C’est la vie” thrown in.  Such is life. Oh ya, and “This too will pass”. I can hardly wait for it…to pass.

I’ve mentioned to her that maybe we should have the yard sale next weekend rather than THIS weekend. Her one word reply is “Why?”. I hate it when she does that. I try to explain that we are “not ready”. Then, she plays dirty. “Sweetheart, we will never be ready enough (for you), but we ARE ready”. When it starts with “Sweetheart”, that means get the cart and start moving things out into the driveway.

Those of you who are already living the full-time lifestyle have already been through this. My friend Dave, who commented in my last post, talks about these things as being “part of the journey” and that we’re “making memories”. Maybe eventually, but right now I’m not feeling it.

I’m still thinking next weekend might be better than this weekend. But then I look at the calendar. June 30th, our “be out date”, is not THAT far away. And we most certainly will likely need more than one yard sale. So, my goose is cooked. This weekend it will be. Despite my better(?) judgement. After all, I’m a renowned planner. I can plan and plan, and plan.

And I could go on and on about this, but I have to get to Lowe’s to pickup some sawhorses. Grrrr…

 

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Notice Given

When our lease was up on the house we are presently living in,  by mutual agreement, we converted to a month-to-month rental arrangment that included a 90 day notice provision by either party. On April 1st, notice was given that we will be out by June 30th.

We’ve been actively planning for our Great Escape for well over the past two years or so. And even though we have REALLY accelerated our planning for what to do with our stuff, and have made great progress, there’s no denying that we’re antsy about the fact that June 30th will be here before we know it.

So, the pressure is on. Even so, we think we’re ready. Not only from an on-the-road point of view, but also from the more immediate requirement of reducing our possessions that WON’T be going with us in the motorhome, which is most of our stuff.

We have quite a few items on Craigslist. And several on EBay. And then some items on a industry related forum for the few remaining business items we had. So far, so good. We’re actually sending stuff to new homes and building our nest egg.

We also have reserved some storage space. We know that the object is to keep storage rental to a minimum, if not non-existent. But the reality is that there will come a time when we will no longer be on the road. And there will be some minimal number of items we will want to keep and have available when that day comes.

Another thing that occurs to us is how our three road trips since last September are figuring into the scheme of things. As a reminder, the month of September was spent over in Colorado, and then a bit of Utah and Arizona. November included time in Anza-Borrego, and then over to Yuma, an area of Arizona we had not previously visited. And then in January, we went over to Quartzite for our first “Big Show”, and further east to Wickenburg, Prescott, Casa Grande, Tucson and Apache Junction.

That’s a fair amount of traveling which included a considerable amount of boondocking. Without necessarily planning it, these trips served as a perfect set of shakedown cruises prior to our upcoming Great Escape. Our solar worked perfectly, as did the other improvements we had made. There were a few things needing looking into, one of which was thought to be a heater core problem. I pulled the heater core when we got home and took it to “Charlie”, our local radiator genius. He tested it and proclaimed there was nothing wrong with it. Turned out to be a loose hose connection making it look like a leaking heater core.

In conclusion of this post, I guess we are counting the days at this point.  But we certainly won’t be idle. Still have some yard sales coming up, and some things to sell that may not be conducive to yard sale bargain hunting. But one things for sure. Sometime in early July, we’ll be heading north “on the road”. It will be too hot here in Southern California to head in any other direction. Stay tuned.

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Blog Reading

Well, Nina and Paul are in Pismo. Or were. You know how these things go. There’s always a time delay so that everyone can get out of Dodge before we run into them.  Same with Jim & Gayle who are/were in the Mojave National Preserve. So is Suzanne.

Mark & Bobbie are in Moab. Pam & John aren’t hiking. They are on Lake Powell. In a rental boat. They haven’t figured out how to hike on water…yet. But they DID make sure to wander up certain canyon waterways to find places to put ashore…to hike. Sue and Dave have joined them.

RVSue is WAY down some dirt road south of Tucson. Al & Kelly are back in Canada, having sprinted 2500 miles from Congress,  Az. to Bayfield. Brenda and Hector are no-shows, not having posted for over a month, and even then, only posted a review of their Christmas and holidays spent in San Diego. UPDATE: Just received a new post from Brenda & Hector. They are over in the Wickenberg/ Congress area of Arizona. Obviously, they saw this post and decided a new post was long overdue. 🙂

And, lest I forget, Ingrid is STILL hanging in Phoenix, watching rattlesnakes cross the trail and otherwise visiting with her newly re-located daughter. And, last but not least, Dawn is in Michigan sending out photos of winter’s beauty.

So, that’s it. Everyone is now free to go about their travels re-arranging the chessboard of life until next time. 🙂

 

 

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We’re not Hoarders – Really We’re Not

 

We have been “home” now for a little over a month, having spent early January until the first week of February over in Southern Arizona. This was our third trip out on the road since last September. Two 30 day trips and one 2 week trip.

Each time out impressed upon us more and more, the necessity of getting more serious about cutting the cord between a sticks and bricks existence at “home” and a full-time RV life. So, this time getting home we have put the pedal to the metal, so to speak.

For those of you who have gone through this, you know. But for the rest of you, do you know how much “stuff” one couple can collect over a period of 35 years? Well, we didn’t. But we’re surely finding out.

I’ve often said, and I’ve said it here, make a plan and work the plan. So, our plan is to have as many yard sales as it takes, as soon as we are ready. We hope to be “ready” sometime in April. April 1st would be ideal, but I’m starting to see that weekend slipping away. But not for lack of effort. We have been diligently going from room-to-room, agreeing not to move on to the next room until everything in each room has been categorized as either “Yard Sale”, “Keep” “Donate” or “Trash”. I cannot tell you how many times our two 70 gallon trash bins have been filled and hauled away.

The first room that was emptied, one of three bedrooms, has become a staging area for “Yard Sale” stuff, all priced for quick sale we hope. The dining room and table has become Yard Sale staging area #2. We still have the master bedroom, family room, living room, the kitchen and the garage to go. Actually, it’s not as bad as it seems. We’ve made some progress in each of the remaining rooms as well. It’s hard to stick to a strategy of only going room-by-room.

And let’s discuss shredding of documents and papers. We’ve been saving “important” documents for 35 years. It’s amazing how UN-important these documents have become all these years later. But in this day and age, it’s prudent if not paranoid to shred anything you would not want in the hands of others. So, sitting on the living room floor shredding documents while watching TV has become the new normal. Slowly but surely, file cabinets are becoming empty.

Although we would love to unload everything we put out for a yard sale, we don’t really expect that to happen. So our plan is to have a first one, and then have another one or two on subsequent weekends, re-pricing as necessary. If, after three yard sales, things have not sold, they will convert to “Donate” or “Trash”. We have no time for sentiment.

Then, there are the Craigslist or Ebay items. Since starting preparations for this our Great Escape, we have had good luck selling items on one or both of these sites. We still have a couple of vehicles, a trailer, a motorcycle and small equipment left from the winding up of our business to sell.

So…anybody need a brass bell door knocker? How ’bout a hardly ever used Nordic Track treadmill? Cheap!

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