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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Harrison Ford

(Craig)I felt like Harrison Ford a little while ago. I'll tell you why in a minute.

As you know, we have the house up for rent. It's been shown 5 or 6 times now. If it's going to be shown, we get a phone call to let us know the day and time of the showing. Well, guess what I didn't get this morning. A phone call.

As I sat in my robe in front of the computer this morning, I heard voices. Hmmm...maybe it's the neighbors walking by. Nope! It's our realtor bringing someone to see the house!! OK...I'm in the basement, in my robe and that's it (you can use your imagination, or better yet, don't) when I hear the front door open and people walk in. I can only remember four words going through my head at that specific moment. "Ain't this a bitch".
Yeah, it's funny now, but it wasn't then! I ran in a small circle about three times before stopping and saying to myself "I'm trapped"!
So I yell up to the realtor..."is someone there"? (yeah, I know....duh!)
He leans over and looks down the stairs. With a slight chuckle, he says "didn't you get a call"? I respond that I didn't. He apologizes and I tell him not to worry. Show the place but I'll be locked in the bathroom down here. He says that he has another showing for here in 20 minutes. I tell him that I'll slip out in between showings.
So I hear him showing the place. Sounds like a woman and her daughter. They seem to like it! She wants to fill out an application now, because the last three places that she liked, she filled out the paperwork, but was then told that each place had been rented. She likes this one and wants to apply now. I wonder if she heard me applauding from the bathroom? :)
So they leave. I have a few minutes to get out before the next showing. Hurry, hurry!
I look around the house. We've had it spotless for every showing before this one. But for this one: the bed's not made, dirty clothes on the floor and a couple of fresh cat pukes in the spare bedroom. And with all that, we get the first application submitted. Ironic!
So, quick!!!! Make the bed...pick up the clothes....and yes, clean up the puke (ugh).
Throw on some jeans....where's my shirt?? Ok, just throw on a jacket. No time for socks. Put my boots on and out the door.
As I step out the door, I hear his voice...yes, the realtor! He's bringing more people right now! He can't see me yet. He has to turn the corner. I have a few seconds. What do I do???
I run. I run the opposite way, thru the snow, turning the corner, rounding our fence and run all the way to my truck. I felt like Harrison Ford, running thru the snow in the movie "The Fugitive". Why did I run? No clue. Did he, or the people with him see me? Probably. I'm sure he chuckled again if he did see me.
I get to my funny. The woman and her daughter that were just looking at the house are parked next to me. I see her filling out paperwork. I smile. They don't know it's me. The daughter, probably, 10 or 11, sees me. She immediately locks her door. OK, I don't blame her. I haven't shaved yet and I'm wearing a hoodie. Can you say Unabomber?
I drive away and call Karin. She didn't get a phone call either concerning the showings. So I shared this story with her....whining as to the hell I've been thru already this morning. There was a momentary pause, an eerie silence on the line. Then, it came. No, not just some chuckles. All out snorting, soda-out-your-nose, uncontrollable, hysterical, pants-peeing, crying.....laughter. So, after about a minute of this, I joined in. Laughter is truly the best medicine :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Retirement Notice

(Karin) I gave my official retirement notice at work on Friday morning. What a load off my mind. I was going to give them notice at the end of the month. But my boss was going to give me an 'annual review" Friday morning. I just could not let him go through with all that. Everyone seemed so happy for me and Craig.

Anyway, we put the sway and weight distribution equipment on the trailer this weekend. David Hall of Trailer Source in Wheatridge CO has been great at explaining how all this works. Just a few more odds and ends left.

I am researching how to COOK HEALTHY while on the road and love homemade soups, stews and brown rice. Craig likes plain hamburgers and Italian. Since these dishes take time and propane to make, I hope to find cookware to speed the process.

Anyone have healthy cooking stories to share or know of healthy canned or frozen foods without MSG, preservative and those chemicals.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Poker, Kayaking and Budgeting 101

(Craig) Not too much has happened within the last week. We have listed our townhome through the property management company. It's been shown twice since listing it five days ago. Here's the location online:

Overall, pretty happy this company. We'll see how the rental process goes.

As for budgeting, we've had a general idea of all income and expenses leading up to this trip. Now, 6 weeks prior to liftoff, Karin and I got together and fine tuned the budget. We are going to do our best to comply with two rules that we started with: do not use any savings and start the trip nearly debt free. It's so easy to type that, but a little harder to follow! I'm the Poker Player, and she was voted Prom Queen in Frugal, Minnesota! Kinda reminds me of Dr Doolittle's Push Me-Pull You.
So, here's the budget in a nutshell: Income is the remaining paychecks that we receive. We plan to work up to about 10 days prior to leaving. Other income includes the vehicles and household items that we'll be selling. I also wanted to include my winnings from the 3 or 4 poker tournaments that I'll get to play prior to us leaving. I quickly reminded her of my infamous run in poker tournaments during the month of November 2009. I cashed (made money) in 6 out of 8 tournaments. She then came back with the fact that I cashed 0 out of 7 times in the following two months.
So we'll leave my upcoming poker winnings out of the budget (for now).

As for expenses, well here's a quick list: money to pay off two small credit cards, insurances (truck/trailer/landlord/umbrella/health), mortgage, utilities/cable, food, truck/trailer registrations, pre-trip preventative maintenance on truck/trailer, bike, kayaks & accessories, laptop, RV membership club fees, roadside assistance fees, fuel, campground fees, reserve funds for emergencies and some other minor miscellaneous items.
The initial figures had us within $300 of a balanced budget (President Obama, Karin is available for budget consultation). A couple of minor tweaks (or one cashing of a poker tourney) puts us on the road with a smile!
We love the outdoors! Hiking, biking and kayaking/rafting. My bike was just a little too big for me (or I shrunk) so I sold it a couple of months ago. We have another one in sight. As for the kayaks: we prefer a performance IK (Inflatable Kayak). I learned in a "Hardshell", but when it comes to anything over class III water, I get a bit nervous. I can "roll" a kayak....but the higher the class of water, the faster you need to roll back upright. Many kayakers instantaneously roll back upright. With me it takes a second or two. That's enough time to kiss a rock or two.
So, we tried out the inflatable kayaks last year. What a blast! Good up to class IV water. Oh, what are the classes of water? You can look here, just scroll down when you get there:
Karin and I took several trips last year for kayaking. South Platte River (just south of Denver, CO), Clear Creek (Golden, CO) and the Arkansas River (near Salida, CO). We truly love it! But rentals add we're going to get our own gear for this trip. We will be near the Gauley and New Rivers in West Virginia. Many pictures to come!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

FaceBook and the Scott Brown Trail

(Craig) I just joined FaceBook (FB) this past November. Karin has been on FB for some time now. It's been a wonderful way to keep in touch with my local friends that I've lost track of since I met Karin. To all of those friends....I apologize. And please don't blame Karin. That's just love. When we met, we both felt that, for some reason, we had so much catching up to do :)
FaceBook has opened up another door. You see, in my teen years, I grew up and worked at a skating rink in Tucson, Arizona. Many of us that worked at, or skated at Skate Country have found each other through FB. It's been a wonderful experience talking to people that you haven't spoken to in 30 years. While some of my friends still live in Tucson, others have relocated to other parts of the country.....Nevada, Missouri, Texas, California and other states. So I will keep each and every one of them in mind as we plan each leg of our trip.
So in my last blog, I mentioned that we were initially looking to head to Minnesota, which would take us through Nebraska and South Dakota. Well, that has changed.
One of my friends from Skate Country, Scott Brown, left a message on FB for me concerning that blog entry. The message was:

Hey here's a suggestion drive south! LOL!!
With Scott living near Dallas, Texas.....I knew what he meant.

Colorado in April can be a bit tricky. Blizzard one day and 60+ degrees the next. And we are heading North? Ok, Scott you have a point! Plus, more importantly....Karin agrees with you ;)
Here we go.....Plan B....and we'll call it the "Scott Brown Trail".
So, South to Dallas, Texas via Amarillo. Then North to Minnesota, through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. We'll get more specific as it becomes clearer. Thanks Scott! This should make the trip a bit warmer.
So much left to do, but things seem to be falling into place. The property management company is coming tomorrow to take pics for renting out the house. Here are some other things that we are looking into and will let you know as we decide: GPS? Bank Accounts? Mail? Generator? Computer/Laptop? Printer? Roadside Assistance? Insurance for vehicle,trailer,rental property,health,umbrella policies? RV ownership/discount clubs? Cell phones? Online access? I'm probably leaving out a couple of things.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Learning a few things as we begin to plan our trip

(Craig) Here's what we know so far about the route we must take when we leave Colorado: Departing sometime between April 1st and 15th; must be in West Virginia on May 10th; going to visit Karin's dad in New London, Minnesota on the way.
So we have some stops in-between. That's easy! I pinned our road map to the wall and gave Karin a dart. Well, if we go with that strategy, then we are heading to Eureka, CA, going to the beach and driving into the ocean for about 5 miles :)
Ok, we won't do that. Plan B....we tried a program by Microsoft called Streets and Trips 2009. It offers us a 60 day trial before purchasing, so we tried it. Nothing to go crazy about, but it did make an interesting route for us. We like it, and may stick with this route. Our first leg would be Denver to Valentine, Nebraska. Found hiking, biking and a river to kayak there! Well, it may still be chilly in April, so we will see. May stay there a day or two.
Here's some interesting info we've found: you can "boondock" (camp without facilities ie. water, sewer, electric) for free in many WalMart parking lots...and also casino parking lots. You always need to check with that store or casino. We found two interesting websites: shows camping sites across the country that cost $10 or less. shows casinos that you can park at for free. Ok, we need to be frugal, so this is a great start :)
The second leg after Valentine, Nebraska takes us thru Oacoma, South Dakota. This is a small town along the Missouri River. The Lewis and Clark trail runs thru here. This may be our second stop. Then on to Minnesota.
This first leg isn't set in stone by any means. Just sharing our thoughts and processes as we move along.
I did ask for some input from another website that has many experienced RV'ers on it. I asked whether they preferred trip planning software, a GPS or the "old school" foldy maps. I'll let you know what the consensus is.
Thanks for all of your messages and emails!! I've received several messages wanting me to be detailed about our steps towards this trip. Many have also thought about doing this someday and want to hear the positives and negatives that we run into as we plan to hit the road. There is SO much more to do....
Oh, and feel free to leave comments here, send me an email, message via FaceBook, or even become a follower. All comments, opinions and suggestions are sincerely appreciated!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Coming Together Well

(KARIN) Last night we sailed through the last huge stumbling block that could keep us from our travel dreams. Finally we decided to rent rather than sell our house. Whew! We will cover the mortgage and make a small profit that we were not expecting. And we do not have to put any money into the house. We are good to go! Lee Jennings, from Properties Plus sat with us at the kitchen table telling property management tales. We heard the best, a landlord living overseas for seven years and living off his rental property income. We heard the worst, a squatter that was hard to evict. He eased our minds and gave us the tools to become absentee landlords.

We have met the best people so far on this venture. After years of working in the gritty, watch your back world of Wall Street, I am delighted. We have met so many people who want to enjoy life and get along. We are so looking forward to this trip. Our next step is to check out great bicycle trails along the route. Any one have bicycle trip stories to share?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Everything going as planned - almost

(Craig) Well, with truck and trailer in hand, we are ready to go! Ok, not quite......
There are a few things that we must attend to. As for me, I just started helping out at a liquor store. Helps putting some spare change in the bank! That job will be easy to part with when the time comes. Oh, we are shooting for a departure date of April 15th (Tax Day - Runaway). Karin is a stockbroker....heavy stress there!! So she is ready to depart and give this a try.
We are meeting with a property management company tonight to see if Karin's condo can be rented for enough to cover (or come close to covering) the mortgage.
I picked up the trailer yesterday. The Durango pulls it well! Very nice drive! Took the trailer to the storage lot that we WERE going to store it at. The manager wouldn't let me store it without plates (c'mon, I just bought it....I have a sales receipt). That's ok, went about a block to Prospect Park RV Campground and met Nancy. She said "no problem" to store it, as long as it's moved by the end of April.
And even cheaper than the other storage lot that turned me away :)
We will probably go and mess with the trailer this weekend. Take it to a big parking lot and practice backing. Some campgrounds have "pull-thru" sites that you can drive straight thru and unhook the trailer. Then there are the ones that you need to back into. I figure that I'll get some I don't end up being the local comedy show for the seasoned RV'ers as I try over and over to back the trailer up straight :) is an independent contractor for various companies and is providing Internet affiliate services to these companies via the internet for which they may earn financial compensation.

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