And the road goes on forever...

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A New Hoss for the Stable

“You know Dean, don’t expect to see us in here again” I commented. “After all, this will make four RVs for us and I think that’s quite enough.” With that, Marc and I signed up for our newest vehicle, a used Passport Express Ultra Light trailer to house myself and the cats as I travel back and forth cross-country. 

We had such a pleasant experience buying our first trailer from Dean Peters (Schieks RV) a month ago, that we decided to repeat the process and asked if he could help us with a unit I found at another location on his dealer’s other lot. After driving to Manitowoc one blustery cold morning and then on to Green Bay to check out three others, I knew I had found my little abode so late that day it became ours as we did the negotiation with Dean in Red Granite, mere minutes from home. 

It was the oldest one I looked at, but was a well taken care of one-owner and the best equipped with what I wanted which was a dedicated queen walk around bed (I detest having to make and then fold up a dinette style bed nightly or having to crawl across your partner to get out) and a full two door RV fridge and double kitchen sink. By good luck it also has a small slide so I got the bonus of a settee. Most trailers in the range of 19 feet don’t offer a couch. The only thing it lacked that I wanted was an oven. Something I wasn't expecting at all was dual axles which give it a good CCC of over 2400 pounds. 
We’re in maximum countdown mode; me with cleaning, shopping for and packing two trailers for departure. Fortunately I had many extra items left from the Travel Supreme and Yuma park model; and Goodwill seems to be providing most of the rest. We’ll be leaving with the Freightliner and park model the very first part of December and then Marc will fly to Reno to meet his new company personnel and then back to WI where he will close up the house and bring my trailer to Yuma with his Dodge. He needs to have the Dodge out west to serve as his work truck. 

Thanks to the generosity of my oldest and dearest friend Paulette, she agreed to sell us her Dodge half ton pickup, which she didn’t use all that much. It’s an oldie but goodie, with a very low mileage and quite dependable, so I feel as though it should work out fine to complete my “rig”. She will deliver it to us in Yuma in January and Marc will equip it with an equalizer and sway bar hitch. The total cost of both vehicles was about one third or one quarter of what I was expecting having to spend to obtain a decent motorhome with comparable mileage and at the end of the day I still have a truck I can use and keep, long after the trailer may be gone. A motorhome is great but has the downside of being a single use vehicle which doesn’t make much sense for someone like me who won’t be traveling all that much. 

I admit that it is a tad exciting to think I will now have the means and freedom during summer months to be able to get out and explore my new neighborhood and this portion of the country; especially wanting to spend time around the Great Lakes. I’ll try and update the blog just before we leave, then do a recap of the trip once we are settled in Yuma. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Long and the Short of it

The short is that we’re moving. Or at least Marc will be; I’ll just be tagging along for a time. No, we’re not divorcing….

The Long:
While Marc endured three and a half years with this employment he was never truly happy being a Project Manager. The stress was too great, the travel too extensive, the hours too long and the pay too short. One of his former cohorts, his immediate supervisor from KDA days, had jumped ship and helped form a company which is specializing in building smaller assisted living facilities for their own investors. The ramp up has taken years but with several major projects behind them they were poised to hire a superintendent to take over so our friend who was busy “playing superintendent” could step back into what he enjoyed—project management. Marc was the first person on their list to call. He will be their Senior Superintendent.

The offer has been finessed over several months and was finalized in October. While the company is based in Nevada, the first project Marc will be involved in will be, of all places, in Yuma! From there, other potential projects loom in Nevada and coastal northern California. So pretty much everything will be in the west. As you can imagine, at first consideration of this fact, our initial reaction (at least mine strongly) was “No way!” No way are we giving up the lifestyle we so dearly love here in Wisconsin to move back west.

Ah, but the financial carrot and the thought of returning to something which he really loves doing was way too great a temptation for Marc. This could be our last fling before retirement at a real shot to get totally debt free and pay off our newly acquired mortgage. Is it worth taking the chance? I guess so. Just how do we work the logistics though? There is far too much to keeping up this property and the systems working to just go off and leave it vacant for five years. On the other hand, there is also the fact of how enmeshed I am in the things here that give my life added value and meaning, mainly of course, my work with the animal shelter.

It took many sleepless nights and compromise but with the help of the new company as part of the employment package (they REALLY wanted Marc!) we think we have arrived at a workable solution which hits most of our needs. It won’t be easy, but good things in life rarely are. While Marc is away as a wage slave, I will become a seasonal Wisconsin resident—here from approximately April or May until sometime in October each year. This allows me to continue my work with the shelter during their most event filled months. To make the absence from each other palatable, the company has agreed to fly Marc home once a month for a long four day weekend during the times I am in Wisconsin.

Ok, on to the next hurdle. The Travel Supreme is toast; as in dead, dead, dead. The ol’ girl finally succumbed to her unfixed leaks and a burnt out 12V system which Marc had no idea how to fix since there are no schematics available at this point in time. After about twenty years of hard use, she’s earned her final resting place so now we are engaged in cannibalizing her for a new sister! 
Yes, we had to buy a new RV as a place for us to live, because have you ever tried to look for rentals with four cats???? Don’t bother; there are none. OK, so what do we choose? I scoured for-sale ads and we looked around at dealer lots, coming to the conclusion that for our needs, a towable park model was probably going to work best. These are considered destination trailers and are quite popular here given all the seasonal campgrounds so there were lots of them to choose from. Not meant or designed to be towed down the road daily they do now come with all holding and water tanks so can easily be transferred to the next project; each of which will likely go about a year. 

While I was out looking one day I came across a 2010 model in pristine shape. It had been purchased new, towed to a campground three miles away, used very lightly for six years until the owner got sick and could no longer camp. I’m delighted to say we’ve made it ours in what was probably our best ever experience in buying an RV or vehicle with a dealer (who was only 24 miles from our home). Marc towed it home with the Freightliner which we will still use as our tow vehicle since the trailer comes in at around 14,000 lbs loaded. 

It is 40 feet of pure residential bliss. Long, roomy main slide, sliding glass door, huge to the floor tinted windows offering a 270 degree view, residential stove, fridge, garbage disposal, dishwasher, fireplace and washer/dryer hookup and closet. We’re rounding out the excellent like-new furnishings with our chest freezer, kitty condo and a larger recliner for Marc. He even got our door stained glass window transferred from old rig to new!
Ah, our most recent employment move is not only going to involve the purchase of a primary RV to live in but likely the purchase of a secondary one for me to travel in back and forth—because have you ever tried to rent a hotel room with four cats? Don’t bother; even those that take cats have a two pet limit. While I am in Yuma this winter (the used RV capitol of the world) I hope to come across a suitable very small motorhome, aka Class B or C, if I can find one. 

Timeline: December. Marc’s new project first day is Jan. 16th. Going to Yuma has its benefits; it gives us an opportunity to catch up on maintenance there and for me to market our property as FSBO as we still intend on trying to sell it. It will put me close enough to jump up to Oregon and see my family. Of course, it also means no or very little snow for us this winter! It’s not what I would have wished or asked for but in its way it may prove to be a very good move for us and get me out of my comfort zone of central Wisconsin; after three and a half years I’ll have a different horizon.