While we are here in Carson City, we're mostly visiting with daughter Kathie, who had back surgery last week, and daughter Deb, who came up to spend a week with her sister. So we aren't out and about much. Instead, we offer you, along with a few pictures of our motorhome in some neat places, our book's Chapter Two -- "Are You Out of Your Minds?"
|Rosie at Randlett City Park, Anadarko, Oklahoma|
We were ready to retire in 2002. Actually, we were READY a lot earlier than that, but not PREPARED.
|Rosie at Tenkiller Lake, a COE campground in Oklahoma.|
Our financial advisor had told us we were going to be comfortable in retirement, but only if we got out of California. That helped convince us to move into a motorhome and go full-time. Our daughters, Deb and Kathie, were puzzled but supportive. Some of our friends, however, weren’t so sure. They asked all the usual questions:
· “How will you get your mail?”
· “How will you do your banking?”
· “How will you handle medical care?”
· “Won’t you get tired of camping all the time?”
· “When will you come home?”
The biggest question we heard was, “Are you out of your minds?”
|Rusty's RV Resort, Rodeo, NM|
The first questions were the easiest to answer:
· Mail comes through a mailing service on a regular basis.
· We’ll bank on-line using our computer.
· There are doctors all over the country (more about that later.)
· We won’t be “camping,” we’ll be living in our home on wheels, with all the facilities we need.
· We will be “home” all the time; maybe we’ll come and visit you where you live some time.
The last question, "Are you out of your minds?" was tougher to answer. We had often been accused of being a little crazy, but we didn’t think so this time. We had good reasons for going full-time in an RV: it’s the best and easiest way to see the country; we’d been RVing in one form or another for years, and we knew what it was about. Most important was what our financial advisor told us: we had plenty of retirement income … as long as we got out of California!
|On Cousin Kevin's driveway in Washington State|
The time came to sell the house and, like so many others in that time period, we found it sold a lot faster than we had expected. We had to close in thirty days! And we had a house full of STUFF! Kathie and Deb initially didn’t want to take the stuff: they told us they would feel like vultures, and we weren’t even dead yet! We told them, “Take it or it goes to the dump.”
They took a lot, storing some of it so that, if and when we came to our senses, we could have it back. Our adult grandchildren took some, and we sold our leather sofa and easy chair to nephew Andy.
|Construction zone, Alaska Highway, sitting on thawing permafrost.|
Then we had a major yard sale, virtually giving away a lot. Next, we contacted St. Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, and Goodwill. They took what they could. Finally we contacted “Bob,” who would take the rest of the stuff to the dump.
After “Bob” left, we swept the driveway and drove away from what had been Jerry’s family home for over fifty years, and our own home for the previous fourteen years. We’ve never looked back, never regretted our decision.
|County park at Lime Springs, Iowa|
It had been Suzy’s dream, when the motorhome sat in front of the family homestead, to load her up, put it all away, and drive into a totally new life. Alas, it was not to be.
That first day on the road, September 5, 2002, we drove 17 miles to the local Elks Lodge to spend a few nights. Daughter Deb came and took one look at the piles of clothing, the stacked boxes of goodies we had brought with us. She rolled up her sleeves and said “C’mon, Mom, let’s get to work.” With her help we cleaned out a lot more STUFF, and were able to be on our way for real.
|City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico|
Now, nine years later, we still wonder if maybe we’re out of our minds. We had to handle a lot of problems long-distance in the first year: a bank refused to believe we had paid off our loan on the motorhome; health insurance got cancelled; Suzy’s Mom (living in our motorhome with us at age 95) became seriously ill and needed to go into a nursing facility; our cell phone service had been sold to us under false pretenses and we had three $300 monthly bills in a row.
|Rosie serving as grandson Jason's bride Crystal's dressing room near Coeur d'Alene Lake in Idaho.|
We weathered those storms, solved those problems. But every once in a while some other silly situation pops up that requires all of Suzy’s problem-solving skills over the phone with customer service representatives. Computers develop serious cases of hiccups or “I don’t wanna work no more,” and Jerry is on the phone with someone in Turkey or Pakistan trying to get some help.
But we realize that these same problems used to occur when we lived in our house in California, and it still took the same kind of persistence and creativity to get them solved. We’d have been out of our minds there too, but we wouldn’t be having the fun of RVing full-time while we were at it.
Are we out of our minds? Decidedly not!
|Mile Zero, Alaska Highway, Dawson Creek, British Columbia|