Friday, July 22, 2011

Mid summer Status Update

Home, Jamestown, OH

It has been a while since I last posted any status on our attempts to "change our lives". So here is the latest.
Trips under consideration at the last posting were Canada West, Canada East, and West by the southern route. They have all been shelved for "sometime in the future". I hate that phrase because when you reach a certain age that becomes a euphemism for “probably never”. Each one was deferred at a different time for a different reason – none of which is important here.
We are spending most of the summer at home preparing to leave. The bulk of our time and energy devoted to de-clutter. I’m declaring victory in that war, although we still have a couple areas of resistance. We had a massive garage sale, a few trips to Good Will, and rented a storage shed. Some stuff went via Ebay, a load went to the county recycle center, another to a construction dump site, and one to the county document shredding facility. Books, records, tapes (audio and video), CDs, and DVDs went to Half Priced Books. There were also many overfull trash days. Early last spring, we took a trailer full to Tricia in North Carolina and one to Adam in Denver. Naomi got some stuff too. I congratulate Michelle. I know this was hard for her but she provided the energy and tenacity to achieve the victory. Around the house, we had some landscaping done outside, and did some repairs and touch-up inside. Still a few things to do, but we are talking hours not days.

We squeezed in a one week trip to Myrtle Beach, SC and Fayetteville, NC at the beginning of June. Motivated primarily by a birthday party for our granddaughter Ava, we included some real estate shopping in the Myrtle Beach area and treated it as a shakedown cruise for the Cougar.

This was our first trip with the ‘big rig’ and most of the learning had to do with maneuvering – from backing into campsites to picking fuel stops that we could access and were spaced at a comfortable distance. Right now I am sold on Flying J. They are making a big push to capture the RV customer. I used the trip planner on their web site and their RV Travel Guide to select fuel stops and restaurants. It all worked out well. Check out their web site and signup for their RV Traveler discount card.

Selling the house is not going well. After one open house in early June, there has been only one showing. The same is true for the other sellers (about ten) around the lake. No one is house hunting.Our realtor has decided to make a major effort to reach military personnel moving into the area – not just for us but as a general population that represents a possible market for her. I spent an afternoon doing a web search for sites devoted to military shopping for houses. I found six and passed them on to her. There is some street traffic – people who drive by, stop and pick up a flyer from the box on the For Sale sign, and drive on, however, no calls for appointments to show the house.

There are a couple other items representing small movements in the right direction. We discontinued our land line telephone service. That felt strange. I have no love for ATT. It’s a fact that their service in our neighborhood has grown steadily worse over the years – mostly from overcrowded and deteriorating wires which they refuse to replace. However giving up the phone number that we have had for over thirty-five years does represent permanent change. We are also filling out change of address cards. The new address will be a mail forwarding service – yet to be determined. That is an interesting subject with a lot of ins and outs that I didn’t expect.

The overwhelming event of the summer was Thursday 07 July when we had to put our beloved Golden Retriever, Bailey, down. She had been diagnosed with cancer several months prior. We spent the interim appreciating her company and dreading the day we knew was coming. We miss her terribly and I don’t want to say any more about it.

On a brighter note, departure date is fixed – Monday, 29 August. I have been searching for opportunities to “volunteer” in exchange for a free full hookup campsite. This falls under the general heading of Workamping (go to All kinds of opportunities are available. If you do it for a private company, you are an employee, you get some dollar amount as wages, and the value of your campsite and hookups become barter income that must be declared at tax time. If you do it for a government agency, e.g., national or state park, or non-profit, you are a volunteer not an employee. There is no wage, the campsite and hookups are free, and are not considered barter income. Most places are looking for about 20 hours per week. There is a whole subculture doing this.

I found a place that fits, sent them an application (resume) with our availability, and got accepted. So we will spend September and October at the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement ( in Blountstown, FL. Where?? Blountstown is in the Florida panhandle about half way between Panama City and Tallahassee. They are expecting ten hours of work per week from each of us.So we will depart here on Monday 29 Aug, take three days to get there, and “report for duty” on Thursday 01 Sep. On the other end, we will leave on Monday 31 Oct and take one day to reach our new winter digs at The Great Outdoors (TGO) ( in Titusville, FL where we will stay until 30 Apr 2012.

That’s all for now. Let’s all enjoy the heat.