August 26, 2013

Changes


Grab some popcorn, the movie continues!!  LOL

When I left you last, all the vehicles were for sale on Craig's List and I had an appointment on Wednesday to show the house and list it with a Realtor.

I made it to Wednesday morning, appointment was set for 3pm and my day started by my bloodhound Sadie trotting through the kitchen toward the door for her first thing in the morning trip out to the field, followed by Winston and Heidi, the basset hounds.

"Was that water I heard"????  Couldn't be. Not on the same day the appointment was set for. I flicked on the light switch only to see a small lake of clear water on the kitchen floor, all coming from the closet that holds the small water heater.  Strike 1.

Before anything, coffee must be made, so I tip tow around the edge of the "lake" toward the refrigerator to get some nice filtered water to make coffee. With the door open I catch a small glimpse of water puddled at the bottom of the fridge, NOT connect to the "lake" on the other side of the room.  Strike 2

By 9 am I had the "lake" under control, calls made for cost estimates and availability for a water heater replacement. Also all of my refrigerator contents were loaded in cold Coleman coolers and the defrost processed had started. It is a self-defrosted fridge but a few weeks ago I realized the door was left open for many hours and thinking I had the same problem from last year where those small drain tubes were full of frozen water, I would try to defrost before looking for repair.

Since the most of the morning was taken with DCC, it left me little time to "stage" the house like I had planned before the appointment at 3pm. The more I thought about it, I decided it was not the right day for the appointment, called Linda and cancelled.

Within the hour I had also changed my mind about selling my house.

The rest of the day I continued to think and as you all know "thinking" gets me in trouble.  Not bad trouble, just trouble.

By that night I had confirmed to myself once again, I really didn't need to sell my house to travel nor to buy the Starcraft trailer. The more past emails I read, some blogs I read, I had people that have been on the road for 6 years or longer telling me in more than one email over the year, to hold off selling the house until I try living on the road with 3 dogs to see if it was really what I wanted to do ... and not go by "the beautiful stories" I read about full-time rving on different blogs.

One little tidbit passed on by a full time traveler with 2 large dogs in a very small trailer. She told me something I had never thought about it. She said it's harder to camp in the winter, not because of the temperatures but the decreased time of daylight hours. Meaning the winter months I would be spending more time inside my trailer with the hounds due to shorter days. 

I also decided if I wasn't going to sell the house, I didn't need to sell my old Chevy pickup (I used it a lot this past week). I also decided I would not sell the Mini Cooper S. I had zero emails or calls about the car the weeks it was listed on Craig's List and other Mini Cooper Forums. I also was not going to "give it away" by selling for a lower price just to get rid of it.

So I sit here a week later with the house, truck and cars but with less clothing, less pots and pans, less kitchen utensils, less ice tea pitchers, less juicers .... all taken to the Goodwill.

The downsizing continues.

I admit I did feel better after those decisions and continue to do so even after 5 days since deciding.

So without selling the house the departure date has been moved back to the date I originally planned in 2011....to the spring 2014. I can keep my bank savings intact and my 401's instead of using part of them for monthly expenditures. There have always been financial reasons not to leave before the spring of 2014....unless the house sold. If I were to leave before November I would spend the winter in Arizona, eastern Southern California, possibly NM and/or Texas.  Whereas in the spring I will head west and by the hot months of the summer travel up through my old neighborhood of Washington, down through Oregon and Idaho....then maybe to Montana and Colorado.

Those were plans I had even before I thought of RVing of any kind .... then come back to the house when I got tired of the road or come back and clear out the rest of my stuff and leave an empty house to the Realtor to sell.

So I have come a full circle since October 2011....only the mode of travel has changed.

The dealership has had 3 2013 17RDs since last summer, has not sold one, so they will most likely have them next March when I am ready to leave. I didn't see any reason to buy a trailer, winterize it and store it if I wasn't going to use it until spring.

I have ruled out the Class A and most likely the C's based on how I want to travel.  The Starcraft 17RD will be the trailer I choose. Nothing has changed to make me look or think of a different trailer. It has everything I need and the size is good.

Hope your popcorn tasted good!  College and NFL football starts this Thursday!!

August 19, 2013

Negative Thoughts

I don't watch much tv but a few years ago I became addicted to a show that lasts only 12 weeks??, not sure...So I watched it tonight, this being it's last season. This summer after that show CNN has a 1 hour special where they send one of their reporters out in normal off the news living.

Tonight he was in Nebraska with a rancher, along with someone else reporting on the river traffic in St Louis on the Mississippi River….the major highway for transporting corn throughout the Midwest.

The theme of both locations….drought.

They were about the close down the river traffic because it has become so shallow. The Rancher in NE is about to lose his ranch, unless he is getting rain this summer. I could not tell which year they were in, 2012 or 2013.  I think it has rained a lot through there this year but I'm not sure.

By the end of two shows I had some interesting thoughts….no couch.  The trailer has no couch and during these two shows or the few times I watch tv, always, the bloodhound and the older basset hound lay under the coffee table and the younger basset lays on the couch.

So I wondered how that would be with the trailer having no couch?…just then a "brief" thought on selling the house….but more thoughts on what if nothing sells…the house, the truck, the Mini Cooper?? 

So my response tonight to all of this fast bombardment of negative thoughts I think is interesting because it is different than all the other times this happened to me. In the past when I had some quick negative thoughts like that, I would be outside right now at 11:40pm, pulling my for sale sign up in the dark…..but not this time.

I thought about what if the house and the cars sell….what if the house sells quick and I have not sold my vehicles yet….I would leave my vehicles on my friends car lot and sell them on consignment.

So I no longer wondered about the couch…..I saw the dogs finding their own sleeping/hanging out places inside the trailer once we came inside…I saw getting up early in the morning and after a cup of coffee, pulling out to a new camp within a few hours.  I saw traveling when I had an urge to go somewhere I had either been before or a place I've wanted to see and towing my house behind me…a bed the same size I have in my house, AC IF I want it and peace and quiet away from people, traffic noise, stuffed up sinuses, and to save electricity….a lantern.

So instead of freaking out with doubt….I have finally been able to recognize those thoughts (tiny negative voices) and then think of what I really want to do and that is to be moving around the western states with no yard work, tornadoes, freezing snow, boring work. Then pull into some small town for some gas, groceries maybe a dog park or a local diner.

I can't wait for Linda to show up on Wednesday to sign paperwork for her agency to list my house.….and I can't wait for my cars to sell. Her schedule was not open until Wednesday for us to meet and get the house on the market.

Looking at the "completed" listings on eBay on my Mini Cooper, there were a lot of listings the past two weeks and a lot of no sales and the couple that did, sold way below book value. My friend mentioned to me that it's August and that may not be the best time trying to sell cars or trucks because people are having to spend a lot of money getting their children into school, with book fees and clothes. I then remembered my co-worker telling me she was spending about $1,500 for her 6, 8 and 18 yr old to start school.

Still it only takes one person that likes that color of car, or the location or the low miles.

Spent the day cleaning....for just one person living in this house, its amazing where dust comes from. I took my biggest load of clothes yet to Goodwill, yes they are open on Sundays.  I am down to what I would call the bare minimum....I have a closet and 1/2 to clear out but that will take place this Saturday when I take 8 plastic tubs of sports programs and magazines that I use to sell online to recycling. Then I will have 8 tubs for storage on the road. The other part of the closets are throw away stuff. I even cut down my dishes and silver to a 4 pcs setting, even though I plan to use paper/plastic on the road.

Spent all day getting rid of stuff and as I sit here, it hardly looks like I put a dent in downsizing.

August 17, 2013

Starcraft AR-ONE 17RD is Back !!!!

The more blogs I read with people in small trailers, vans, tents....made me go back through reading a lot of saved information I had. Looked at a lot of pictures of all the above mentioned ways of living on the road. I then went back and re-read my blog posts on why I "almost" bought and why I didn't, I read comments to those posts.....I read emails concerning those indecision's.

Then Friday night after seeing my Cincinnati Reds lose a game on the road in the bottom of the 9th inning with their "Flame Thrower" on the mound .... I went to claz and looked at different trailers for sale. Claze is a site that combines all for sale sites on the net for whatever "term" you put in the search box. What popped up first in my search for Casita was the Casita trailer that was 30 miles from me in Bedford Indiana...from the same guy that told me he had two buyers if I did decide to change my mind. Well that trailer was still there and $600 cheaper on the asking price. He had dropped it off the site that sells nothing but fiberglass trailers to a website that sold trailers, rv's and 5'ers. When I didn't see it on the fiberglass trailer site I figured it has sold.

So I went back through my Casita notes, pictures and still could not see any way the hounds and I could survive full time in that 14' of living space.

What that did do was take me back to the Starcraft AR-ONE 17RD notes I had taken, the blog posts, and the pictures I had collected, or took and saved. The inside of that trailer looked large compared to the Casita. I looked at prices for used trailers and they were higher than what I was buying a new 2013 for. So by midnight Friday night my brain cells are scrambling like mice that found a ton of free cheese!! The more I read, the more I looked, the more convinced I was on the right path before in June when I backed out at the last minute with dollars in hand at the dealership.

Before there were some conflicts in opinion on how long the interior was based on the Model name "17RD" and what the dealership was telling me. I couldn't honestly tell what size the inside of the trailer was. Plus I needed to see if my hounds were bigger than I thought inside that trailer.

I decided about 2:45am....yes, AM....on Saturday morning (still Friday night to me), that I needed to go back to that trailer with a tape measure in my hand and perform some further investigation.

The first thing I measured were my 3 dogs, just to see how long they were and tall the bloodhound was. These measurements were used when I sat in the trailer later in the day. When I sat at the kitchen table and on the opposite end on the bed.....I stretched out the measuring tape to 29" (bloodhound length) to see what I was going to be looking at, along with 2 24"er's.  Surprisingly, everything looked like it should work.

Long story short ... the interior is 17'L and 6'9" wide. So the model number is the inside measurement instead of the length from tongue to bumper like most trailers are labeled. I don't think you want to see all the numbers but I measured aisle width, front entry space, bed size, bathroom shelves (potential ballgame/movie dvd's) ... cabinets, floor to ceiling (6'1") and that nice exterior storage space that goes the complete width of the trailer. I even measure the ground clearance to the lowest hanging pipe (11"), an inch higher than my H3 Hummer.

The 3 windows in back are not as big as a Class C or even a larger trailer but they are still good size. The top of the trailer has plenty of room for the solar panels installation. The AC is 8,000 btu's...I am guessing that is enough for a 17x6'9" space.  I won't use the AC any more than I do here at home, last year I survived the 100 degree temps with windows open and fans on, just to see what the cost savings would be at the end of the year.

Sooooo the Starcraft AR-ONE 17RD deal is back on. I will pick it up in a couple of weeks. I am having 2 vents changed out for 2 Fantastic fans, plus their prep which includes the anti sway bar, the brake controller installed, propane filled and the new Interstate Marine battery fully charged.

2012 Starcraft AR-ONE 17RD

The house is being listed with an AGENT!! for the first time on Monday.  The Chevy Truck and Mini Cooper that are on Craig's list will be added to eBay and/or Cars dot com on Sunday night 11pm local....so that 7 day listing will end on Sunday night 8 pm on the west coast. In my past eBay full-time selling experience that seemed to be the best time and day for me for total sales.

Anyone wanna bet if I change my mind?  lol lol

Plan is to be heading west no later than 30 October 2013!  When the vehicles sell, then I can leave at any time, with the house vacant, move in ready and with a real estate agent.

It took a while, I admit, but it feels great to finally have a firm plan of action and a totally different feeling within myself than anytime in the past.

August 15, 2013

House Trucks & Trailers

Once again I recently tried to put this living on the road for any length of time out of my mind. I still read the blog lists but moved all of my bookmarked RV info out of site. Tried convincing myself that I would work until I drop, make more money than I need and keep buying toys as I had the urge. That would surely make me the happiest.

The "itch" to leave it all never disappeared as it never did in past attempts to shove it aside in the past 22 months. This time I also realized a couple of new things. I have been buying "toys" for a long time and I have made more money than I need for a while and I have lived in this low cost of living area for 16+ years .... guess what? All of this was just a rut or routine, little true happiness and different periods of deep depression.

My happiest times were when I was younger of course, traveling cross country to San Diego from Indiana and then up the coast highway to Seattle....all with a tent, sleeping bag and traveling riding a bicycle.  The best summer I ever had. Other times I was happy were the times driving cross country from the west coast to Indiana and back or about 6-7 years ago when I was buying old '60s VW buses online, flying to their location and driving them back...keeping some of them and selling others.....it was the traveling cross country where I was the happiest.

I think there are some pretty obvious answers there ... answers that I should follow.

So I made some decisions.....again, but at least I keep catching myself when I am about to make a purchase recently, ask myself "am I going to need this on the road?" ... that stops the purchase.

As far as the house I have decided a different approach. When people call me to ask about it, in the past they would ask what the price is. This time I am going to tell them to make an appointment to look at it and I am considering all offers!!  With it being paid for, I am willing to take less to move it and that puts me on the road sooner.  Yes, the For Sale sign is back in the yard.

The 1994 Chevy 2500 truck is back on Craig's list and will be on eBay by the weekend. My 2006 Mini Cooper is back for sale on Craig's List and will be on eBay or Cars.com by the weekend. In the meantime I am going to keep the H3 Hummer to tow a small trailer unless feedback from the question I ask below, leans towards a larger trailer.

My question is ... being a "rookie" in pulling camping trailers ... which would be better for me, a smaller trailer to tow and learn the RV lifestyle, towed by my H3 ... or trade for a Tundra or F150 so I can tow a trailer around 21' and 6,000lbs.  Would the bigger trailer be a problem for a trailer towing rookie? My only experience in towing a trailer were the times I moved, driving a Uhaul truck, and towing my car.

I've made these decisions to sell in amongst the best weather we have had for a while, very cool nights, low humidity and highs of 70's during the day.  Everything is green. I feel better selling and leave rather than play it safe and stay in the rut/routine that has engulfed me.

My house has peaked out for me personally and all I see when I think of the future is money spent on house maintenance and house repairs ... neither of those two options thrill me at this point in time of my life. I'm 61. I get more excited when I think of starting my day outside with a cup of coffee, with a great view and no plans unless I want to.

August 3, 2013

Nothing For Sale

(Editor's note: On August 11, 1013 I put the For Sale sign for the house back up, listed the Chevy Truck and Mini Cooper on Craig's List. Both vehicles will be posted to eBay August 18, 2013 and I am considering listing the house with a realtor)

As the title says....nothing is for sale.  It doesn't mean I have changed my mind about traveling, just decided I did not NEED to sell everything to travel.

First of all, in the past selling cars and old vw's...I had great results on eBay and cars.com  This past week on Craig's List brought nothing but spam emails...a LOT of spam emails, then a few spam texts. No calls to see them, to test drive them....zip, nada.

The decision not to sell the automobiles yet actually started when I thought about not selling my house. Would I want to sell my vehicles if I didn't sell the house?  Not really. My house with me in it or leaving it empty while I travel, costs me $1,000 per year in insurance and property taxes. The water and electric I can shut off and then pay the electric company $25 when I get back and need to have it activated.

Do I need the house sale proceeds to buy a trailer?  No.  Do I need the house sale proceeds to travel?  No. Then the only reason to sell the house was to move the base camp 1,500 miles west.

I decided there was not a need to sell a house that I like, own and is perfect for the hounds just to move a base camp 1,500 miles west. Overall Indiana has great weather except for roughly 5 months (subject to change in 5 minutes), Dec, Jan, Feb, July and Aug .... I can be away during those months with no problem.

If I am out traveling and see a place that I am overwhelmed by feelings that I have to move there, then....I will put the house up for sale in Indiana.

So I guess I have FINALLY come to realize what friends, fellow bloggers and co-workers have told me over the past months....."try RVing first and if you don't like it, you have a house you can move back to" or "when you get tired of Rving, you have a house you can move back to". ....and I add, with very little money to maintain it while I am gone.

The vehicles might change if I decide to go big and sell the '94 Chevy 2500 truck and my H3 for a 4x4 F150 or Tundra just to tow a bigger trailer. Otherwise I can tow with what I have, the H3 or even as suggested by David not to rule out the old truck....the old truck with the 5.7L V8 and the heavy duty suspension added for towing, along with a brake controller.  Still, neither of those vehicles can tow the Nash 17' all season trailer, but it can tow more than 4,500#'s.

So currently I am thinking the H3 towing a small trailer and then setting up a 10x10 tent as spare room once the camp site is set up. If extremely bad weather hits all of us can sleep in the H3 with room to spare.

So the house stays as do the vehicles.