Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tales From the Road

Well it has been quite a while since I added to this blog so here goes. First of all I want to thank our friends Bill & Pat with helping me with this blog. Still having issues with pictures so that will be later. The last time I wrote, I mentioned a few of our stops on the way to Las Vegas. Our first destination was a overnight stay in Granite City, Illinois near St. Louis. Of course towing a 8 ton trailer cannot be without issues. Somewhere in central Illinois we pulled into a truck stop for diesel fuel and met a truck driver who told me my back window was flapping in the wind. It was due to a broken latch and thanks to some duct tape we had a temporary fix. While getting to the window I had to extend out one of the "slide outs" to get access to the back of the trailer and when I pushed the button I heard a loud crack and then a crunch. My heart stopped and decided not to pursue that action till we were at our next camp area. Set up in Granite City and found the trouble with the slide out was a grill lighter that fell underneath the rollers. Whew! Turned out to be an easy fix. The camp ground however turned out to be in an industrial area next to a C&N Railroad maintenance junk yard. Very scenic.

Woke up the next morning to continue our journey to our next stop which was a suburb of Kansas City Missouri. That camp ground turned out to be little more than a gravel parking lot where we spent two nights while visiting with my son, Rick where he manages a chain of restaurants.

Oklahoma City was our next stop and we thought we died and went to heaven. Beautiful camp sites with plenty of grass and amenities such as a salon and spa, great pool and exercise facility. While there we visited the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial at the former federal building. It was very well presented and very moving. The first thing you experienced was a public address message being delivered at the time of the explosion. The recording captured the chaos and the crumbling sounds of the structure. The hair still stands up on my neck as I write this. There is a field of chairs, one for each adult and child killed in the bombing. One hundred and seventy one in all.  The next day we visited the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum which was a great presentation for the west and the settlers.

With Oklahoma City behind us, we headed for Amarillo in the great state of Texas. We stopped at the Cadillac Ranch where a collection of Cadillacs from the 50's & 60's are buried at an angle in the desert floor. We left our mark (traditional spray paint) and drove through the Pallo Duro Canyon. This is best described as a mini Grand Canyon. This is a place I would love to camp at. It is a state park and has camp sites with water and electric although they are fairly remote and rugged.

All for now. Wait till you read about our next stop in New Mexico.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Wishing, Planning & The Move

Almost two years have passed since Nancy & I came up with a crazy idea of living the RV life full time. There was much discussion with our friends from London, Canada who also made the decision to sell it all and hit the road.  After looking around at our current life, it was obvious that this was not going to be an easy task. We had to decide to sell the house or keep it as a home base, what to do with all of our 44 years of accumulation of not only our own family belongings but inherited items from my parents, Nancy's parents and an Uncle who lived with us for several years. We made the decision to sell and find a place for all of our "stuff". This was probably the hardest thing we (I) had to deal with. I held several garage sales, made good friends with the folks at Good Will, convinced friends and family that they needed many items that we had.  In the end I had to take a really hard core attitude about what was worth keeping and what should be discarded. They say that once you are done downsizing you will have a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of freedom from getting rid of all the "baggage". I have mixed feelings so far. I am glad to have de-cluttered my life but some of my interests demanded space and inventory such as wood or metal working. I will have to adjust my hobbies and interests to my new environment.

Early August came and the unthinkable happened. We had a buyer for the house and reality was hitting as to what course we were taking.  By mid September the negotiations were over, the house emptied after a estate auction and some boxes and "plan B" furniture was stored away. More on plan B later. All that remained in our home of over 15 years were empty rooms and fresh paint patches on the walls where pictures once hung that chronicled our family and interests. Bitter sweet at best. The closing on the house came and went on September 30th and we found our self at a RV park in Belvedere, IL. We stored a few pieces of furniture, pictures and personal items to use in a residence if we decide to create a home base or if health makes the decision for us. Either way we have enough to get a house hold set up which our plan B.

One of the things we are leaving behind are the wonderful experiences  and friends we have made during our time living on Lake Antioch. This neighborhood is one of the most unusual places I have ever lived. I have so enjoyed being a part of the Friends of Lake Antioch HOA and the closeness of the neighbors with all of the lake events, Thursday night tacos and friendly waves as you pass through the neighborhood. I will truly miss this the most.

On October 15th, we will be pulling out of Belvedere and begin to wind our way South until we park our rig in Las Vegas. We will stay there until the end of March and then begin our snow bird migration back North for the Summer. There will be stops in Kansas City, and Albuquerque on the way to Vegas so that will fill the two weeks of travel. Stay tuned for stories from the road in the next blog.