Saturday, May 27, 2006

We have two homes—an 1800-sq-ft house and a 5th wheel trailer. We spend six to seven months a year in the trailer. This time we have only been in the house for three weeks, but we still had to bring with us everything we use in both places—computer, printer, most of our clothes, some kitchen gear, perishable food, books, cat food and supplies, mail.

While we’ve been here, we have painted the fence, repaired the front door, cleaned the house so it will be ready to return to in the fall, been to the dentist, spent time with our son, his wife and our two grandchildren, bought new tires for the trailer, and prepared for the coming four months of travel and a family reunion. It has been a whirlwind. In addition, Carol had cataract surgery. We’ve bought gifts for three birthdays coming up over the summer.

This week we have been focused on packing to move back into the trailer. There is so much we can do without in day-to-day living. But some things are essential to us and we don’t want to buy two of everything. Therefore, we pack and move.

Living on the road part or all of the year is only possible with good support from family or friends. We are very grateful for our son, Eric, who watches our house, takes care of getting the sprinkler system turned on and off, collects and forwards our mail, waters the plants. How would we do it without him? Part of our time at the house is devoted to spending quality time with him and his family. We also depend on neighbors who are more than wiling to taken in our recycle just after we leave and keep an eye on the house while we are away.

One of our most valuable possessions is our computer. That is how we keep in touch while traveling—checking on bank accounts, credit cards, investments, paying bills, sending and receiving email. The challenge is to find places to go online while we are on the road. And with the computer goes the printer, cables, inkjet cartridges, etc. Second in importance is a cell phone. What did people do without them? But so many places we visit have absolutely no signal or we are subject to roaming charges. Pay phones are still important. And I guess one advantage of being on the road is not having to be available to others every minute of the day. We have found that a ringing phone at the house feels like a rude interruption.

On Monday we leave for four months of travel and adventure. First stop—a train ride in southern Colorado. Check back later to hear about that.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Our Cats

  • Our two traveling companions are 14-year-old PC (Presiding Cat), a gray tabby, and 13-year-old Partner, a black and white American shorthair. The two are great companions and seem to enjoy trailer life as much as we do. Partner has his doubts about traveling and the truck, however.
    Our 5th Wheel

    We travel in a 2003 Montana 5th wheel trailer with two slides. The approximately 280 square feet of space provides everything we need for this lifestyle. We began RVing in 1988 and first owned a Coleman pop-up tent camper. Nine years later we moved up to a 26-ft Komfort 5th wheel, which served us well as long as we were only out a month or two a year. Now we appreciate the extra space of the slides during our six to seven months on the road each year.

    Sunday, May 21, 2006

    We have lived 63 great years and are retired (Carol at age 59, John at 60). We had busy work lives and raised two sons. Shortly before the younger left home, in 1988 we began RVing when we bought a Coleman pop-up tent camper. Travels in that trailer introduced us to a whole new sub-culture of American life. Eight and one-half years later we upgraded to a 26 ft Komfort 5th wheel, then in 2003 to a 30-ft Montana 5th wheel with two slides. Our lives and work limited us to one month and a few weekends a year at first. But as jobs allowed, we extended to two, then three months. We now call ourselves half-timers and spend half or more of the year on the road.

    We travel with our two cats, PC and Partner. We have been to Alaska, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, California, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada and some points in between in the past three years.

    Why do we travel? Perhaps it is in our genes. Carol’s great-grandfather was born in England, immigrated to New York, then settled in Colorado and retired to Oregon. John’s great-grandfather moved from Ohio to Illinois to Texas, back to Illinois, and then returned to Texas. Why should we stay in the same place all the time?

    Before retirement, we had driven to the East Coast and the West Coast. Since retirement we have been to Canada and Alaska, spent three months at Bryce Canyon National Park and explored Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.