Sunday, October 21, 2018

Catching up and goodbye Beast

FOUR months since my last post which is a new record.  Sometimes a person is just not feeling it and distractions are many.  As time goes by and more and more things go unrecorded, it becomes a bit daunting to catch up.

But since I rule this blog, I can be brief and leap over the past four months, as little or as much as I want.

First of all, you may have noticed that the title no longer says "on Wheels"....... this is because the wheels .... AKA "The Beast" is  <<SOLD>>  As of six days ago.  Husband and I are still celebrating.

Backing it out of the driveway for the last time.

Wait, you may say.  Didn't I love The Beast?

Yes.  I did.

Then I didn't.

The Beast served its purpose for over two years, keeping us adequately sheltered.  I thoroughly enjoyed the escape from yard work and from multiple rooms that were seldom occupied except by dust mites who had to be evicted regularly.  And as I have previously said, I hated moving the thing.

Motorhomes are large investments .... even 12 year old ones like ours.  In fact I shouldn't call it an "investment" because the longer you own it, like with any vehicle and unlike a house, the more the value goes down.  And repairs can be costly and frequent.  We had to deal with a few of them.  So when you add a worrier (like me) into the mix, the result is not optimum.  I was always afraid it would break down on the side of the road.  Or present us with another leak on a rainy day.  Or that it would age beyond its appeal to any prospective buyer.  Or that it would suddenly demand new tires, shocks, radiator, batteries, a new fridge, AC unit, or what-have-you.

So after a few repairs and much cleaning ....  it sold within a week.  (Happy Dance!)

And we have decided that, for now, our version of camping will be in a tent.  In fact, just last month, we were in our little backpacking tent in a campground in southern Colorado .... the only tent-dwellers amongst many RVs, and we no longer envied the comfort of those big rigs with their kitchens, bathrooms, and flat screen TVs.  We were traveling minimalist-style on our motorcycle with no concerns of maneuvering in and out of our site, if our slides would retract in the morning, or if we'd be able to find a gas station we can fit into the next day.  

(Note:  Husband is not a worrier (like me) which is good, because if he was, we'd probably never venture out, take a risk, or do much of anything.  He provides the big ideas and optimism, and I provide the angst to keep us somewhat grounded.  It's called balance.)

Therefore, with that, another chapter in our life is now closed.

So ....... over the last four months, we have done TWO motorcycle trips.  The first was a sequel of last year with our great motor-biking friends.  We traveled into Idaho -- the Boise area where the guys could fish, up near Sun Valley where the guys could fish, then over to Rexburg where the guys could fish.  I got to see my delightful sis and some cousins.  Total score.  (Sadly we don't have many pictures.  We were all too busy having fun.)

All the bikes in our garage the night before the trip.  They all spent the first night with us, three days after we moved into the house.  (Thanks, Julie.  I took this from your Facebook pics.)
Husband on the Big Wood River, Idaho.

Awesome sister and cousins.
In August, we introduced our new home to our progeny (kids and grands) at our annual reunion and plan on hosting many more.

AND, to check another biggie off our list, we finished moving ALL OUR STUFF.

AND THEN Husband backpacked 85 miles (one week) on the Pacific Crest Trail with friend, Steve, who was hiking the entire Oregon portion.

Alas, I did not think to take an "after" shot when I picked him up a week later.

Then our second motorcycle trip we went alone, first by hauling our motorcycle in our little utility trailer to Utah where we visited some awesome relatives,

then we left the car and trailer

and rode our motorcycle into Colorado for nine days, camping and motel-ing along the way.  We saw Mesa Verde again ....

I went through there too.  It was the only way out.
And up this.
Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde
..... the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, the "million dollar highway" and the majestic Rockies with their splashes of golden aspens among the evergreens.  (I cannot EXPRESS how gorgeous those mountains are!!  Oh, poor Oregon .... you've been bested by Maine and now by Colorado too.)  We rode in elevations well above our own 11,000+ ft. high Mt. Hood.  

Colorado National Monument

We reconnected with more awesome family and then to our beloved southern Utah .... Arches National Park (for the umpteenth time), our fave Moab campground, and more.  Over 1800 fantastic miles on the bike

On the Home Front, we finished laying gazillions of pavers for our driveway.  Plus we watched someone put up the outside portion of Husband's new shop.  (Husband will finish the interior, as you may have guessed.)

There's a cement floor in it now.

The sand pile has shrunk considerably.

Landscaping is still on The List.  It WILL be minimal.

In spite of a warm fall, we're starting to use our wood stove, which I love.

And ..... we got a new puppy.  (I know, I know.)

Winnie The Poop

That's all.

For now.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Moving-In Week!

I've purposely avoided updates on our house.  This is because, no matter how hard we worked, we could not seem to pull it out of that unfinished-looking stage.  There always seemed to be ladders, sheetrock dust (still is), paint cans, wires, holes that needed something in them .....  and all accessorized with an abundance of tools strewn about.  I was tired of posting pics of the process and was beyond ready to show the results.  

So to bring 'er up to date, I'll mention a few "highlights" from along the way ......

Painting the exterior of the house was a lot of work, but the rewards were immediate.  We opted for three colors (all shades of taupe) which meant a LOT of taping.  But we're happy with the results.

The garage doors arrived in the perfect color.  We did not have to paint them.  Hooray!

The interior walls and ceilings were a big job and weeks later we're still finding spots to touch up, but again ..... happy.  Then (insert creepy theme music) came the job of painting our interior trim, meaning all the base boards, window trim, door frames, etc., that Husband had dutifully constructed and installed himself.  Plus the doors had to be painted.  [Need I mention that every inch of trim had to be caulked (by yours truly), which is absolute death to a manicure.]

Our builder (Don), builder-friend-Alan, and Favorite-First-Son-Who-Is-A-Builder ..... ALL said they paint their trim last.  This means after the walls and ceiling are painted, and after the flooring is installed.  (But, thankfully, before the carpet arrives.)  Okay, so we did.  That was when I discovered that the entire world of Youtube how-to videos is shaking its head and saying, Don't do it, you fool".  Thus I learned by sad experience that when painting one's trim LAST and with a powered paint sprayer that blasts wet paint willy-nilly in the general direction one points it, means one is about to plunge into the outer darkness of painting-PREP.  One day we literally spent 14 hours taping and then spent approximately 14 minutes spraying everything we had taped.  And that was only a few rooms.  We bought rolls and rolls AND ROLLS of masking tape, and returned to the store several times to buy more.  This was worse than laying 1200 square feet of wood flooring and three rooms of tile.

This was worse than the wiring.  (Husband may disagree.)

This was Masking-Tape-Hell. 

Everything that couldn't be removed, had to be covered and taped, including the floor.  At one point, I had a small meltdown and had to walk away, indulge in a good cry, then go back to work.  It took us four and a half LONG days.  THAT is one job I will NEVER do again. (Standing with clenched fist.)

Thus our DIY-resolve weakened and we broke down and paid gobs of money to a couple of angels who paved our entire patio.  Ahhhhh.  Who says money does not buy happiness??  (The driveway and front sidewalk are yet to come and still remain on our DIY list, as is our tiled shower in the master bathroom.)

The large rock on the right came from where our front door is now.  We had the excavator move it to this spot.  Grandkid seating.

Long story short, the carpet in the bedrooms will be installed tomorrow and then we're moving in.  (We're actually just sleeping in the RV at this point, as our beds are still in storage.)  Over the past several weeks, each time we've headed o'er the mountains, we've brought back a load in our utility trailer.  So we have a portion of our stuff here.  We'll bring the remainder in a mega U-Haul and then our life as motorhome dwellers will officially come to an end.

A few pics:
The counter backsplash is yet to come.

The wood stove and I are already becoming great friends.  Best heat ever.

I chose this light fixture very early on, and nicknamed it "the fun light".

I included this shot to show Husband's skills.  He built that drop-ceiling-thing from which the lights are hanging.  (T'was NOT fun getting it up there.)  That last piece of trim at the top of the range hood is on eternal back-order.

And the above is because we live on Quail Rd.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Are we glad we did the RV thing?

I sat and visited with a small group of women after church today (which included Debbie, a fellow RV-er) and some expressed their wishfulness that they too could try the RV lifestyle.  One was caring for an aged parent, plus her husband did not share her wanderlust.  The other had circumstances that prevented leaving hearth and home.  Debbie and her husband agreed to sell their home and do two years in their 5th wheel.  They're one year into it and she is hoping to extend longer.  She loves it.

Then later today I got a Facebook message from an old friend living on the other side of the country who asked about our feelings regarding our two-plus years in our motor home.  I started to type out my response, then decided to write it in a blog post ..... since I can get rather long-winded on subjects on which I fancy myself somewhat in the realm of *expert*.

So here goes ....

Hi Etta!  So good to hear from you.

We are still living in the "Beast" since we are in the final stages of finishing our home.  So we haven't tried to sell it yet.  If it sells easily (fingers crossed!) then ..... we'll have no regrets.  If it doesn't, then ..... we may regret it big time.  The RV market is still in gang-buster mode, so we're not worried.  Husband watches the ads frequently, and comparable rigs are selling for a decent price.  But it was 10 years old when we bought it, and these things do anything BUT go up in value.

The first year was very different than the second year.  We traveled over a lot of the western US and saw much of Washington, including Mt. Rainier, Leavenworth, and discovered our favorite -- the Palouse in eastern WA.  We did Coeur d'Alene (thank you Spell Check!), Glacier Nat'l Park, Mt. Rushmore and surrounding country.  We saw amazing sights in SE Oregon I'd never before heard of, revisiting our beloved Utah canyons, St. George, Lake Powell, and finally visited Sedona, AZ (my brother has been nagging me for years to go there).  We saw Death Valley, Yosemite, Sequoia Nat'l Forest, Joshua Tree, Palm Springs (aaaahhhhh!), some of the California coast and other parts of CA that go under the heading of, "Once is quite enough".  We also experienced Quartzite, AZ, (google it) and Yuma, and a fair amount nearby.  So all in all, it was a great year ..... and a BUSY year since we also married off our youngest and I had two surgeries.  Phew!

The second year was very different.  We bought property and decided to build The House.  Thus we have been stuck in a well-traveled rut between New Home and Old Home town ....... back and forth ..... working on said house and managing affairs on the old home front.

The first year was fun and adventurous and totally non-productive.   The second year was monotonous, exhausting, and VERY productive.  And after a winter on wheels in central Oregon, I am RV-ed out.  I cannot WAIT to move into a real house again with limitless water, a washer/dryer, a wood stove, space, etc.

Are we glad we did it?  So far ..... YES.  Would I do it again?  No.  I'm done.  I learned that I enjoy the ease and simplicity of living in 300 square feet, but I don't like driving my entire house down the street.  I don't like going to much-necessary dump stations.  I'm tired of "navy" showers.  (If you are camped in an RV park with all the hookups, none of that matters.  But those usually cost anywhere from $25-$70 a night.  We usually spent in the $30/night range.)  I prefer traveling in something smaller and we plan to buy another more compact RV for future traveling.  There's a lot to be said about bringing your own bed along wherever you go.  But no more 100% full-timing for us.

My advice if you're seriously thinking about it --

Do not buy new.  These rigs are notorious for their glitches.  Let someone else work through them before you buy it used.  Plus the initial depreciation is off the charts.

5th wheels make a lot of sense over motor homes and are probably more popular .... but they require a sizable pickup to pull them so you're spending big bucks regardless.  Motorhomes have the engines of a semi-truck, so they can be built with more quality materials, like real wood cabinets, tile floors, etc.  5th wheels simply can't load on that much weight so you see more vinyl and plastic.

Our Beast is 40 feet long with three slides, and we wouldn't have wanted to be in anything smaller since it has been our only home.  It is a Country Coach which is known for quality.  We watched RVTrader online for months and found it in Vancouver, WA, sold by a private party, with less than 20K miles.  We knew what we wanted well before we found it and I still think it has one of the best floor plans.  But when it needs to go in for repairs .... we are homeless.

Tips:  Make sure that at least one of you has a minimum amount of mechanical prowess.  I have none, but being married to one who has, and can keep a cool head ..... is a great comfort and help.
Read RV blogs, and follow some RV podcasts.  There are a lot out there and they love to give advice. Some of these people have been living the lifestyle for years.
A lot of RV-ers just do the snow-bird thing.  The more miles you travel, the higher the cost .... obviously.  (Consider 7 MPG.)  So if you go somewhere and stay there for a while before moving on, it's less expensive.  And if you can dry camp (AKA boondocking, via solar panels and generator) on public land, it gets cheaper yet.  (There are helpful apps to tell you where to go for that.)  And Walmart over-nights are definitely the way to go if you're just passing through.
Follow the weather.  Do NOT winter in central Oregon.

My old posts in this blog give a lot more details.  I'll link to a few below.  This lifestyle is very alluring when life gets over-bearing.  It is all about ESCAPE which we all long for now and then.

Let me know if you have any more questions and I'll blab some more.  All the best to you and yours.


PS -- If anyone cares about photos and/or house updates.  More are coming SOON to a computer/phone/devise near you .........