Friday, October 29, 2010

The Art of Doing Nothing.

We are learning the art of doing nothing.

We finally got out of the parking lot at Foretravel in Nacogdoches. The best part of our stay there was all the people we met in person, after "talking" to them over the Internet for the last couple of years. We fell into the habit of having a sort of Happy Hour in front of our coaches every evening. It was great fun. But, after Kent and Peg went back to Oklahoma, we felt the need to begin traveling. Life was looking really good ... if we ever actually left our present location, there was no telling how much fun we could have!!

So, we left. and we wound up here!! Just the kind of place we need after the last month.

Sunrise over the Sam Rayburn Reservoir is very peaceful. There was a bit of mist that made everything silver. No wind ... the water was very calm. It was cool and lovely and quiet. No one was stirring ... no traffic noise ... no TV noise ... not even a boat. A balm to our much ruffled feathers. The first days of owning our coach were pretty hectic.

We picked this thing up on a Friday, late afternoon. Didn't sleep in it that night, as there was a LOT of cleaning to do. The Stallings didn't really camp in it, or live in it. They took it to shows and spent 4 or 5 days at a time using it as headquarters. We began sleeping in the new one on Saturday ... after I had had a chance (with Peggy's help) to sanitize bathroom and kitchen and wipe as many surfaces as I possibly could. My idea of a clean fridge and Mrs. Stallings' are very different. Sunday, just before bed, Jeff tells me,"Don't flush the toilet! We have a bad leak!"

WHAT?!!! Are you KIDDING me?? Just what I do NOT need to hear. I scrub the bathroom tiles with bleach and deodorizer ... we run next door in the middle of the night if we need to potty. Kind of like having an outhouse. We call Motor Homes of Texas first thing Monday ... they had worked on the toilet for James Stallings ... and they will have to fix it. I decide to test the washing machine to see if it works properly, while we are waiting to get toilet service. Seems just fine ... until the first cycle drains. WATER everywhere! Stinky water!! Coming up the shower drain, up from around the toilet ... massive use of paper towels and anything I can get my hands on. Blech!!
Suddenly, the light bulb goes on. "JEFF!!", I scream,"I think the tanks are overflowing!!" The sensors that monitor the levels in the Black, Gray & Fresh water tanks had been malfunctioning. We knew we had to have them repaired. Apparently, when Motor Homes of Texas worked on the toilet, they flushed and flushed to test it. They never dumped the black tank. James Stallings never dumped the tanks. He sold it to us with a very full "shitter" and when we lived in it just 36 more hours, we topped it off! Nice.
SO ... Jeff unhooks everything while I am mopping and we drive across the parking lot to the Dump station. We get out the sewer hose and hook it all up (this, we KNOW how to do very well!) and open the valve to drain the black tank.

Jeff said later,"I may be old. And I may be fat. But I can move when I have to!" The sewer hose had a hole in it that, under pressure, shot shit water about 4 feet into the air. I will testify that Jeff certainly CAN move! We finished emptying the tanks satisfactorily and went back to our spot. Toilet is now just fine! There was no leak .... Just a big job for me to add to my list ... Get rid of shit smell! I am happy to report that I have been successful. The nose knows.

This happened on the 18th of October. On the 19th of October, Jeff and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I bought him a new bucket and a collection of Microfiber cloths and mitts for washing the new coach PLUS some deluxe wax he wanted. He bought ME a NEW SEWER HOSE!! The romance is still alive!!! But do you sense why we need some quiet time?

Sunsets here are outstanding. what looks like a helicopter in the distance in the photo ... at about 10 o'clock to the left of the sun ... is actually a huge dragonfly. They buzz around here like mad when the sun begins to go down. We see eagles gliding over the water in search of fish ... flocks of black birds that may be cormorants ... and the occasional heron wading in the shallows. It is lovely to just do nothing and wait. We can ease into a more active phase later ... when it feels right.

In the mean time ... imagine the kind of life you want for yourselves. That's what we did, and by golly, it came true! I wish the very same happiness for all of you .... minus the full"shitter".

More later. XO C & J

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nacogdoches, TX

We are settling into our "new" coach. Slowly, things are finding their proper place in cupboards and closets and bays. there is more storage in this coach .... and there isn't. but we are slowly making it feel like our home, one day at a time.

We have spent a really interesting week here in the parking lot of the Foretravel factory. They have about 50 spots for coaches to park and plug in to electricity and water. VERY nice perk when you are traveling or coming here for service. However, I have never seen so many people here at one time! There must have been 30 coaches here when we arrived. Several were members of a web forum we participate in. It was really nice to finally meet the people we have been "talking" with for months online. Others came over from another service location a mile or so down the road and we started a party! Happy Hour every day in a shady spot ... wine or beer and h'ors doevres ... good conversation. It was where the "cool kids" were hanging out!

The "living room" is a good bit larger than our old place. Room to swing a cat. Likewise, the bathroom ... the shower is the same size as a residential one. We have larger capacity tanks for our fresh, grey & black water ... that means we can hang out longer in areas that are a bit more primitive before heading back to hook ups.

More counter space, more battery power for things like coffee makers and lights. It is a pretty good machine!

The other good (or sad) news is that we have sold our old motor home. John & Judy O'Reilly from Tucson, AZ drove here, arriving Wednesday to inspect the rig after many email conversations and exchange of photos. They inspected, test drove and settled in for 24 hours ... finally decided that this was the one they could be happy with. So ... we said "Goodbye" to our first wonderful Foretravel and can only hope that they have as many good miles as we have had.

I have signed up for the "Ladies Driving School" that the Foretravel Motorcade Club sponsors every year. There will be 20 or so women here, all learning to drive these big machines. 3 or 4 to each instructor ... using Foretravel coaches to run up and down the highway, park, back up, navigate cones, etc. We have classroom sessions, learn about pivot points and tail swing and lots of other scary stuff. More on that after the event! My friend "Larry" from the Remodel Department here at the factory is one of the instructors. He told me that he just heard from a lady "who was SO scared to drive! I tell ya, she was as jumpy as a hen on a hot rock, I guarantee!" But now she has called him to tell him that she drives their coach just fine. Too funny. I just love Texans!

Well ... it has been a long day of selling, settling,
signing and saying goodbye to our old home. Time
for bed and watching the Phillies game. I hope they manage to win this game! Later , friends! Stay tuned to see what happens next as we actually take this thing out on the roads and explore Texas.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

On the way to ....

We are on the way to Nacogdoches ... presently in Chattanooga, following I-75 south through Tennessee. I would love to know the meanings of these place names. They just amuse me. Driving through Virginia all day in the bright sunshine ... a beautiful day, today. There were not many evidences of fall foliage coming down I-81 ... just a ruffle of red and orange on a few maple trees ... a purple scarf of vine wrapped around the neck of a locust tree ... a blazing peep of red through the weeds. Most of the trees are still dusty, tired green or they have given up and turned brown in defeat.

We drove through a massive flurry of big, fat, juicy bugs. I don't know what they were ... but there are fewer of them, now! Looks like scrambled eggs on the windshield! Blech.

Campground tonight ... no Walmart for us, although last night it was just fine. We want long, hot showers and some good cable stations to watch the Phillies AND the Eagles!! A fine dinner of 3 cheese Ravioli with Salmon, green peas and some nice Alfredo Sauce. Bourbon for Jeff, a nice chilled Prosecco for me ... totally relaxing. We will sleep well and look forward to another fine day tomorrow.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Imagine ....

October 9 ... today would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday. Imagine. I think that is probably my favorite song of his. Imagine. I think that it is fair to say that Jeff and I imagined ourselves into this new life style. We thought and thought about what it could be like, we tried it on for size in our imaginations so many times! Finally, we just started to inch our way towards the end of the diving board ... and jumped off into the unknown.

I hope it will be all that we imagined. I imagine myself waking up to new views out my window. I imagine myself seeing things that take my breath away ... or take my words away ... or inspire words to write here. I imagine myself meeting all sorts of people, learning to drive a bigger machine, finding new favorite spots on the planet and being happy to be out in the world.

I imagine that we will get better and better at this new way of rambling around. I can't wait!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Last day ....

Today is probably our last day in PA for a while. We are meeting Anna & Owen off the school bus this afternoon, and hanging with them tonight. Mom will be working and and Dad has a chance to go to a Phillies playoff game! So, it will be a late night, but we are going to savor the time with the kiddos. Then, tomorrow, we head out on our journey to Texas and our new home.

Got some work done on the generator, so it is now performing as it should ... a needed fix whether we were going to keep the coach or not. We are polishing woodwork and tightening latches and screws and doors and blinds. I want the coach to look really good when we say goodbye to it and have it ready for it's (hopefully) new owner. It has been a wonderful vehicle to have as we felt our way into this new stage of our lives. I want the next guy to know that we cherished it.

The weather is that perfect pre-Fall kind of breezy, sunny, coolish, comfortable, non-humid & blue sky day. I could live in this kind of weather forever!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Not saying Good Bye .....

“…[Weed] out what you yourself like best to do, so that
you can live most agreeably in a world full of an increasing number
of disagreeable surprises.”
~MFK Fisher

We had a Sunday afternoon with some old friends ... a sort of "Farewell" party ... that was not really "Farewell". I can't imagine really saying "Good bye" to these people. The relationships are the sort where we perhaps see one another 2 or 3 times a year for several hours, but have known each other for so many years that we don't need much time to catch up. Camping in the mud and the squalor of the Phila Folk Fest for all those years is a bond not easily broken. So ... although we were supposedly saying "Goodbye", it was not too much like any other Sunday gathering we have had from time to time.

I think that Jeff and I are truly lucky to be able to begin limiting the events in our lives include more and more of the things we truly like to do ... and eliminate more and more of the stressful and disagreeable parts. We are shedding the responsibility of owning a home, moving out of the congested, high traffic northeast ... heading for the wide open spaces that we have found exist in the south and southwest. We don't want to fight cold and ice and snow. We want to follow the sun and lift our faces to the blue sky as often as we can.

I know I will be back to see my friends on a regular basis. And I will reach out to them with all the technology that is so happily at my fingertips. I anticipated having a very hard time setting off on this new lifestyle ... but it seems to be a fairly easy slide, so far. the hardest part is the waiting until we can get the last bit of paper signed and get out of PA and on the road. Grrr! I wish I had that idiot guy's head on a platter! Soon .... soon.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What a week!

Talk about spinning wheels and going no where! Settlement was looming... house was totally empty and Jeff and I were living in the driveway in the motor home. The 30th of September was the big day to sign all the papers and hand over the keys. But WAIT!!!! There is always a nitwit in the pipeline. Somewhere "upstream" from us, some mortgage broker fudged his paperwork ... intentionally or not, and everything came to a screeching halt when the underwriters caught it. Meanwhile, real families, ones with 3 kids & a dog living in a hotel, ones with all their worldly goods held hostage in moving vans with potentially ruinous storage fees, families with no place to go ... are all sitting with their teeth in their mouths and wondering what to do next. Well, we all decided that the human thing to do was just trust ... so we all signed rental agreements for $1.00. Everyone is insured, everyone has their stuff in their intended new space, everyone is legal. Now all we have to do is wrangle the paperwork and we can actually move ahead.
Jeff and I are in the motor home in a "campground" somewhere between the settlement location and our son's house. We are making the most of the extra time with the grand kids ... won't be seeing them until Christmas! The place is packed to the gills... 10 lbs of stuff in a 5 lb space, but I thought it would only be for 5 days, or so ... not 2 weeks! Texas will happen and I will be able to move into the new coach at some point. Can't wait!
After 2 days of drenching rain(it didn't rain, it literally POURED) ... flooding, trees down, houses collapsing ... the sky is brilliant blue and there is a crisp, fall feeling in the air. Lovely!
Birthday party today for grandson Owen ... tomorrow with the kids again and all our Fester friends ... should be a fine weekend. Life is starting to feel good.