Monday, June 28, 2010

Busy Times

Roger here...  Unfortunately, we have not been posting as often because we have been too busy getting everything ready for the next big adventures in September, when we leave Central Indiana for points west.  We have accomplished a lot, but there is still a lot to do.

Selling our small home...  The cleaning, painting, dry wall mud, new flooring, more painting, weeding, ceiling installation, more painting, new plumbing, and more painting IS DONE.  We put the house on the market (For Sale By Owner and Craigs List) on Monday and put the For Sale Sign in the yard on Wednesday. 

 We have already had seven showings (four of them in the last two days).  We received a verbal offer yesterday morning that we plan to finalize in writing later today.  All great news - not what we have typically encountered when we sold our past homes!  We celebrated Saturday night by walking downtown for dinner and ran into our friends, Bob and Vicki.  After dinner we walked to their house and shared a glass of wine in their amazing back yard - truly amazing (too bad we did not have the camera). 

 Bob and Vicki were on the Pendleton garden tour this past weekend.  Our gardens at our former home (see side bar, "garden tour") were on the tour last year.  Bob and Vicki acquired a lot of our old "stuff."  It was great to see how nice our formerly treasured things look in their yard and house.  (Dianne here:  It actually made my day to see how wonderful my garden chairs, pots, and other ornaments looked in their new artistic setting!)

 On our walk home at midnight, it was fun to see all the activity in our small town.  A new entertainment venue has opened - lots of people, lots of cars, lots of live music (Henry Lee Summer) spilling out into the street.  Pendleton has always been quaint and comfortable - a great place to live.  Saturday night it was vibrant.

Our small coach house in Texas...

 The coach house, landscaping, and hook-ups are all finished. The closing was a couple of days ago. We are now the proud owners of a little piece of Texas. Can't wait to put our cowboy hats to use.

Jasper is not as excited, but as always is very tolerant of our whims.

Dogs, dogs, dogs...  Our dog, Chaplin, has been a little listless lately.  He is a sweet dog, but has always lived in a world of his own, stubborn, and afraid of anything new.  Since we have been back in Indiana, he seems to be more afraid of new activities (house painting for example) than usual.  Steve and Peggy, the owners of the kennel where Chaplin was born, invited us over for a visit.  We thought it might be good for him to play with some other dogs, so off we went.   Jasper and Chaplin had a great time carousing with the other whippets, especially Chaplin.  It was wonderful to see him hopping around and playing with the other dogs.  It may sound strange, but a day later he still seems to be in a good mood.  AND, amazing news, there was a litter of whippet puppies at that cutest stage, AND we did not come home with a single one.  I am so proud of Dianne's willpower.  (Sorry, no pictures.  We forgot the camera - a very bad day to forget the camera)

Reorganization....  A lot of our time has been occupied with packing our Texas "stuff," packing our two daughters' "stuff," and reorganizing the motor home "stuff."

Here is a shot of one of the piles that we will soon be shipping to Texas in a POD.  (Except for the lamp; anybody want it?  -- D.)

Here is a shot of things that we will need to reload into the motor home and car.  (Yes, it does all fit.)

Here is a shot of a few of the things that we will be taking to our daughter, Robyn, in California.  (The rest of it has already been loaded into the bays.)

Here is a shot of the things we still need to send to Amanda :-)

Here is a shot of the mess that we have pulled out of the motor home cabinets that need to be pitched, taken to Goodwill,  shipped to Texas, or reloaded in the cabinets.

Here is a shot of Dianne reorganizing the interior cabinets of the motor home.  The finished cabinet over the bar area resembles the apothecary shelves in a Harry Potter movie.  Let's see - crushed dragon teeth, eye of newt, bat toenails....

Here is a shot of the mess that all of this reorganization has made of my organization system.  Everything is going in a new place!  My neatly organized location charts are filled with scribbles indicating new locations!  I guess I will just have to live with it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Flower Photos + New Blog

Dianne here:  This is not really a blog update, but the flowers in our yard are so pretty right now, that I just want to share!

Also, one of my readers recommended a new blog and it is so fun and delightful, I have added it to our sidebar.  It's a young couple just starting out on their fulltiming adventure:

Check it out!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers Day - a Good Day

Roger here...

Today was one of those days that only a dad can appreciate.  The day started early in the morning, when our younger daughter, Amanda, began her journey back to Ft. Myers, FL with the last load of her possessions.  (Earlier this week I drove to Florida with the next to the last load, and was able to spend some quality time with Amanda and our granddaughter, Kaia, before Amanda's scheduled one-week vacation. 

 I even got to attend Kaia's elementary school graduation.  She is now in middle school!  She is spending a couple of months with her dad in Broad Ripple (in Indy), so we hope that we will get to see her again before she flies back to Florida.

We just got a call from Amanda; she has made it through Atlanta.  Sunday is a good day to drive through Atlanta.  Half-way there!  It will be good to hear from her when she gets to Ft. Myers.  We are very proud of the new life that Amanda is making for herself and Kaia in Florida.

Dianne told me that since it is Father's Day that I have no responsibilities!  Wow, a day to veg.  I did some reading and relaxing, and did some organizing of our impending departure from Indiana, (can't help myself).  

Our older daughter, Robyn, who now lives in L.A., called in the afternoon.  It was SO good to hear from her.  She is keeping busy and doing well on the West Coast after several years performing in Chicago for Second City and other theaters.  She recently finished two cruise ship stints for Second City after some time in the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.  Wish her luck in L.A.; I miss her terribly.  

Dianne topped off the day by going on-line and listing Amanda's former house (that we own) on "For Sale By Owner."  It will also be listed on Craig's List.  What a relief to finally take that step!  It would be a great house for a single person or a couple.  We never seem to have good luck in selling a house; hopefully, this time will be better.  (Here's a link to our ad; we'll probably tweak it and add additional photos later:)

(Dianne here:  Roger didn't "veg" all day; while I was writing our FSBO house ad, he perfectly grilled a couple of steaks for supper.  Whatta Guy!)

We are including several pictures of the outside of the house - inside pictures to come.  (Roger was inspired by the views on a pretty day while he was grilling our steaks.)

Happy Fathers' Day to everyone.  For me, hearing from my two loving daughters, it was a good day, topped off by a nap with a 25-pound, bony "lap dog!"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cleaning the Privacy Curtains

Dianne here:  This blog will be of no interest to my non-rv'ing friends, but I was so happy with the results I just "had to share."

Cleaning the motor home front privacy curtains was Item #56 on our to-do list this summer (the list is now up to 82, but we've already crossed off about two-thirds of our chores).  We're making good progress!

The curtains were easy to take down.  It just required the removal of a couple of screws holding one side of the track; the curtains slid right off.

There were a few screws along the sides to remove, but that was it.

I expected to just be able to take them down and send them off to the dry cleaners. one would take them (poor Roger had this errand, and drove all over Pendleton and Anderson trying to find a willing dry cleaner).  I guess the problem was the numerous closed hooks on the top that I was unwilling to use pliers to remove.

I jumped onto the message boards to see how others have cleaned theirs.  Some suggested throwing them into the washing machine.  I couldn't bring myself to do this; especially with the hardware still attached.  Someone else who had a Newmar with the same type of stiff, pleated curtains said they had good results washing them in the bathtub.  Alrighty then....sounds perfect.

Since I currently have access to both a bathtub and clothes line, something I won't have when we leave here, I made haste to soak the curtains in Tide for a few hours.  

After that, I hung them out on the clothes line and rinsed them off, both sides, using the garden hose.  It was a perfect sunny, windy day and they dried quickly. 

They had not ever been washed, as far as I know.  The rv is a 2003.  Traveling through the Deep South in the springtime two years in a row, with two dogs and a cat, meant the curtains had to be just full of dust, pollen, and pet dander.  They didn't really look all that bad when I took them down; but wow, was I happy with the clean results.  They look brand new!  I went over them quickly with a pet hair roller before I took them off the clothesline, to get any remaining cat hair from Charlie the "fur machine."  (The front dash is his favorite perch).

I had fears of having to re-iron all the pleats.  As you can see from the photos, my fears were groundless, because the curtains slid right back onto the track, and folded up neatly back into their pleated state, with no extraneous wrinkles anywhere.  

Wish I had something more interesting to write about, but we're just packing things to ship to Texas and getting rid of yet "more stuff."  We've closed on our rv lot in Mission, TX now.  It's horribly hot and humid there in the summers; but then, it's horribly hot and humid here in Indiana, too, this summer!!

The purple coneflowers at the little house are just getting ready to bloom in the flower garden out front; I'll post another photo after they bloom.  Should be really pretty!  There will also be some black-eyed susans and prairie coneflowers.  I might try to collect some seeds before we leave town, to take to Texas next January.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Last of the Retirement Toys (hopefully)

Roger here --

Inflatable kayak - check!  Portable gas grill - check!  Portable hammock - check!  GPS - check!  Handheld GPS for geocaching - check!  Snorkle equipment - check! Camera to take blog pics - check!  Hiking belts - check!  Decent hiking shoes - check!  Big Bobber floating cooler - check!  Disposal of Big Bobber sinking cooler - check!  Comfortable outdoor lounge chairs - check!  Unbreakable acrylic wine glasses - check!  Looks like we have all the toys that we need.  Oh wait, we don't have bicycles.

Over the last 19 months of full-timing, Dianne and I have frequently repeated snippets of the following conversation:

Roger says: "It would be great to have bicycles to ride around the campgrounds and to tool down the frequent bike paths that we have seen."

Dianne says: "I am frightened of riding bicycles because I am too far off the ground."

Roger says:  "We really can't stand the extra weight on the back of the motor home, but we could figure out how to mount them on the car."

Dianne says:  "Remember when I ran the guy down on the rental bike in the Everglades because I tried to use my feet to stop instead of the brake, and was too far off the ground."

Roger says:  "We could use a bike to transport items from the camp stores to the campsite, like wood and ice."

Dianne says:  "Remember the time with Chuck & Cindy in Florida when I fell off a bike because I was going too slow and lost my balance and was too far off the ground?"

Roger:  "There are miles and miles of bike paths adjacent to our new RV lot in South Texas; what good exercise!"

Dianne:  "Remember the bikes we rented on our honeymoon on Martha's Vineyard and how hard they were to pedal into the wind, and how tired I was, and how we stopped early, and how scared I was because I was too far off the ground."

Roger:  "We could also ride them at Bentsen Rio Grande State Park which is right next to our RV lot.  We had fun doing this last winter on the bikes that we borrowed and there was not any car traffic."

Dianne:  "I still have a bump on my knee from the Everglades fiasco, all because I was too far off the ground."

Roger:  "Bikes are kind of expensive, but since we are selling a few more items from the little house, we could use part of the money to buy a couple of bikes."

Dianne:  "I don't like using hand brakes when I am so far off the ground."

Roger:  "Remember Linda's Townie bike at the RV Dreams rally in South Carolina?  It was low to the ground, and had that flat-foot technology, placing the pedals forward from the seat?  Remember how much Linda liked it?"

Dianne,  "Yeah, I did like that bike.  I want a yellow one, 24 inch (closer to the ground), with a yellow flower."

I jumped at the chink in Dianne's armor.  We found a bicycle shop (Motion Cycling & Fitness) in Fishers, IN that specializes in Townie bikes, and hopped in the car to check them out.   I really didn't think that they would carry 24 inch bikes, let alone yellow ones.  However, as soon as we entered the shop, Dianne walked straight to the exact bike that she described.  It was the only 24-inch bike in stock, AND it was pale yellow.  (Dianne here:  The actual color is "vanilla.")

She took a test drive in the back parking lot and felt safe.  She could touch the ground from her seat.  (We still need to work on getting her comfortable with the hand brakes.)  It was meant to be.

I also found a silver men's bike (matches my changing hair color), also a Townie, that I really liked. 

 I talked with the owner about mounting systems for our Toyota Matrix.  He had them in stock, and helped me mount it to the car.  (I thought I would have to install a hitch, but this was really simple and is easily removable.)

As we were puchasing the bikes, we discovered that the owner of the shop was a former student in the junior high school where I was the principal.  It is always fun for me to see former students that I remembered as being 13 years old who have grown up to be successful adults.  He remembered me and I remembered him, as well as his sister and his mom and his dad.  We had a good time talking about the school, the teachers, and old times.  It was a good -- albeit expensive -- day. 

 Dianne topped off the purchase by finding a yellow flower to put on her handle bar. 
When we got back to the motor home, we both took short test drives around the neighborhood on the last of the retirement toys. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

New Blog List

Dianne here:  

This isn't really a blog update, but wanted to let those of you who follow our linked blogs know that I've finally added some of our favorites to the sidebar.  They run the gamut of veteran full timers, newbies, and those selling their house and possessions in order to get started. 

Geeks on Tour is a great web site and source for computer knowledge, geared specifically to the traveling lifestyle.  They are a fun couple whose seminars we have attended at two rallies.  

 One blog, RV-Adventures of Roger and Margie, is written by a couple whose house closing happened simultaneously to ours last September.  We met at Nick Russell's Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina, OH, last fall.  (Nick's web site and link to his blog is listed, too).  It's interesting to follow the different paths those choosing this lifestyle decide to follow!   

Nancy and Bill, Wandering Sylville, and Frerx Adventures are three couples we met at the RV Dreams Rally in South Carolina.  It was really fun to get to know them; all are delightful couples, and just getting started.  We have also learned a lot from the RV Dreams blog.  They have lots of information for those just starting out, or still making the decision to.

"Have Trailer, Will Travel" is written by another delightful couple we met last year, first in  Florida, then again last spring when we met up at Summit Lake State Park in Indiana for a few days.  They were very generous with their knowledge of Rv'ing, Google Earth, and Texas.  They enjoy the same activities we do, and are lots of fun.

Semi-True Tales of our Life on the Road is another really interesting, well-written blog that we follow religiously.  We've followed some of their travels, even checking out some of the sites and food along the way. 

I will always be indebted to the "Because We Can" blogs, because I've followed them from THEIR beginning, several years ago, and that was my inspiration for shedding all our belongings and hitting the road.  They are still at it, enjoying an Alaskan adventure this summer, so I still follow their every move!  Linda Klyne and I are even Facebook friends now.  Someday I know we'll even meet in person!  

One thing I'm learning in this new lifestyle is that it is truly a small world.  Full timers cross paths, then cross paths again and follow each others' adventures.  (For example, Steve and Evin who we met at the South Carolina rally, then met up with by chance at a state park in North Carolina).

 We also meet folks who know others we have met in our travels.   It's a great way to get trip ideas and "learn the ropes" from those who actually know what they're doing!  (We're not there yet).  

Roger and I will update our own blog soon with photos of our latest "toys" -- the last we needed to purchase for our new traveling lifestyle!  Now if we can sell this house, we'll really be on our way!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kayaking Adventure - Oh, No! Not Again!

Roger here...  Before I begin, there was a lot of debate among our kayaking friends about the title of this blog.  Oh, No! Not Again! was my choice, and since I am the writer, I win.  However, there were several alternate titles which included: Lost! (in Indiana), A Foggy View, Anchors Away, and The Doubters.

Now on to the fun:

  For several months we had been planning to spend Memorial Day weekend with our kayaking/camping friends - Chuck and Cindy and Pat and Audrey.  We met at the Hidden Paradise Campground near St. Paul, Indiana.  The attraction to the campground was the Flat Rock River, where we could launch our inflatable kayaks 100 yards from our campsites.  Another unique attraction was that we could circle our RVs (the "wagons") on a grassy field around a common hookup pedestal, creating a great campsite for friends sharing a common space. 

 On Friday afternoon, Dianne and I picked up our RV after a few days of annual service at Mt. Comfort RV (a good place), and drove about 30 miles to the campground.  We set up camp and were treated to a great meal.  We always eat well at these things, probably too well.

The First Full Day.....  This was the day of the potential blog titles.  Chuck drove his truck to a cemetery near our kayaking pick-up point about five miles from the campsite, and pedaled back on his bicycle.  After the first of three days of hearty and delicious breakfasts (more eating), we inflated our three Sea Eagle kayaks and plopped into the river.   It was a great day for paddling.  The sun was hot.  The water was cool.  And, there were enough swift -- though relatively tame -- rapids to make the trip interesting. 

 Over the span of the three days we had incredible views of the wildlife (never had the camera ready at the right time) including a swimming muskrat, a deer bounding across the river, turtles, a snake coiled on a tree stump that watched us as we floated past, a couple of great blue herons that squawked at us and then flew ahead of us down river, and innumerable song birds.  The first two-thirds of the trip was uneventful and fun.  

The only irritant was the Big Bobber that I purchased to float behind the kayak that was iced down with various beverages.  It worked great before the first beverage break, but soon tipped over, became unlatched, and spilled most of the ice.  We were able to salvage most of the drinks. 

 And then it happened....  The river split into two sections:  The right section looked too shallow to navigate.  The left section moved faster, but was covered by a tree branch.  It looked like we could get under it, but it was going to be risky.  We really had no choice, as the current took us to the narrow passage.  Dianne and I were first.  The tree limbs hit our upheld arms, but we made it through.  We did a victory hoot and then I held up my paddle and jokingly yelled, "go the other way!" to the other kayaks. 

Chuck and Cindy were next, THEN, "Oh No, Not Again!"  One of their paddles lodged in the tree branches, resulting in Cindy being dragged from the kayak and sitting on top of a one-foot waterfall,  and Chuck's subsequent ejection into the current.  No one was hurt, but Cindy had no way to move without being swept away.  Chuck initially thought that they had lost one of their paddles (the one lodged in the tree), and soon realized that for the second year in a row on our kayaking trip that he had lost a new pair of prescription glasses, thus the title 

"A Foggy View." 

 Pat and Audrey made it through without incident.  Dianne and I quickly paddled back to the island.  While Chuck searched for his glasses, I stumbled through the river rocks and was quickly joined by Pat.  I was able to retrieve the lodged paddle and extend it to Cindy as support so she could escape from the current.  Pat offered stable support from the other side.  Cindy was fine, but was not happy that she lost her favorite hat.  Chuck was also fine, but lost his new glasses.  Disappointing, but everyone was OK, so on we went.

As we paddled on, Dianne and I noticed that we were not able to keep up with the others.  We finally realized that the floating cooler, was not floating.  It was completely filled with water and dragging behind us like an anchor - "Anchors Away."    By the time I emptied it and pulled it into the kayak, the latch had again opened and we lost all our remaining drinks.  As Cindy said, "The Big Bobber turned out to be a big bust."

A little flashback....  Chuck and Cindy had done this paddle before, and inadvertently paddled miles past the take-out point.  They ended up hitch-hiking back to their truck after a full day on the river.  It turned out well, but it was not something we wanted to do.  As we passed the landmarks that they remembered (a highway bridge, power lines, etc.), Chuck told us to look for a rope swing at the point of a confluence.  Pat said that he had seen one earlier.  Chuck said, "How far back?" Pat said, "You don't want to know."  The first seeds of doubt - why didn't I bring money, a cell phone, etc.? 

 A little later Cindy said that she was sure that it was beyond the bridge we had just been under, and Chuck said that it should be just ahead.  Then, we saw the rope swing, BUT it was not the right one.  It was at that point that Dianne and I became, "The Doubters."  It should be around the next bend - paddle, paddle, paddle - nope, not yet.   Paddle, paddle, paddle - not yet.  Paddle, paddle, paddle - not yet.  Chuck and Cindy said, "We are a little worried." - "Lost (in Indiana)"...  Paddle, paddle, paddle - not yet!  Roger's doubting mind, "Oh crap, we are stranded without a vehicle, and Chuck doesn't know where we are."  Twenty minutes later, paddle, paddle, paddle - not yet. 

 THEN, voices, splashing water, laughter, A ROPE SWING!  WE ARE NOT LOST!  Good ole Chuck!  Trusted him the entire time.  He'll look great in the extra set of prescription glasses that I intend to give him.

After we tied the kayaks to the truck I gave the Big Bobber to one of the rope swingers, after explaining that it was a piece of junk.  We then made our way back to the campground and we had the second of three great suppers - we ate well, again.

The second full day....  This day was much more relaxing, but not nearly as exciting.  We duplicated the trip from the previous day.  This time we knew where the sketchy places were and we knew we would not get lost.  When we got to the scene of the great tipover, Dianne and I grounded our kayak and portaged, not willing to tip into the water.  Chuck, Cindy, Pat and Audrey all made the run.  Kind of made us feel like wimps - oh well.  When we made our way back to the campsite - more eating while we watched the Indy 500 outside, thanks to our satellite and Dianne's determination to make it work.  Cindy's brother and his friend joined us for dinner, conversation, corn-hole,  a trivia game and - more eating. 

 Dianne here:  Only fellow Indiana people appreciate the novelty of watching the Indy 500 live on TV.  It is always blacked out from local television coverage -- always has been -- so while folks around the world enjoy the race live on TV, Indiana folks grow up listening to it on the radio or watching the re-broadcast hours later, after the outcome is already known.   Unless, of course, you go to the race and experience it in person.  If you are short, you might experience it as I always did:  Quick, noisy blurs passing between the heads of whoever was sitting in front of me.   

Memorial Day....  Rain, in fact storms, were in the forecast.  We all intended to kayak again before breaking camp, but the possible thunderstorm deterred Dianne and me.  By the time we expressed our concerns, the other two couples decided not to go as well.  I feel really badly, because it did not rain until later that evening.  But, we did enjoy the morning at the campsite and - more eating.

We are back in Pendleton right now.  Tomorrow morning we will do the final cleanup of our little house before we put it on the market.  We'll keep you posted on the progress.