Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Slowing down in the Rio Grande Valley

It's always amazing how busy we can be without working...Last week was full of people leaving, including John & his dad, his sister & bro-in-law and his parents. Fortunately they missed the storms (for the most part) and arrived safely in Iowa on Friday. Others who have left here recently were not so lucky. Apparently some are stranded in the Dakotas and don't anticipate moving on to Canada until tomorrow at the earliest. There were reports last night that one couple couldn't even get to a restaurant. Hmmm....eating solely from motel vending machines probably isn't as much fun as I would have thought.

Back in Iowa, John's dad is busy visiting doctors to try to find out why he's having so much trouble breathing and John is visiting some friends while he's there. He'll fly back down here later today - yeah!

I've kept busy washing the RV & car, running errands, and generally getting everything ready to hit the road again. Oh, yeah - and I learned to read electric meters one day and enjoyed a visit the next day from a high school classmate and her father. Jean and I hadn't seen each other for about 20 years and had a fun time catching up again (indoors since it was 102 degrees here in the valley that day!).

So, today's project is reorganizing the bay doors - yippee..... And, on Thursday we'll become nomads again as we head for New Mexico. This is the first time since we started full-timing that we have a pretty good block of time to explore one of our 50 states. Should be fun!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Back in the RGV

Our trip back to the valley on Friday was uneventful. We'll miss everyone from the rally but will likely see several at "The Rally" in Albuquerque next month and others in Washington this summer. It's quite amazing how paths cross in the RVing world!

Many of the people from here are heading north now, although some will stay here through the end of March, some till April or May and a very few stay here year-round. Activities are slowing down and will pretty much stop after this week. There wasn't any Sunday night ice cream tonight, but John's sister Jane and her husband Tony hosted a little get-together this evening to get some help cleaning out the refrigerator before they head home. We had a fun time and then topped off the evening with a game of Dominoes. John & I got beat - oh, well. Maybe we'll have better luck at pinochle tomorrow afternoon...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Summary to date...

If this is your first visit to this brand new blog - welcome! We are John & Lora and here's a brief summary of how we progressed to becoming "full-timers".

John & I were both born and raised in a small Iowa farming community. We dated in high school, married fairly young and had two sons. When our boys were 11 and 9 years old, we moved to Anchorage, Alaska where we enjoyed family activities that included cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, camping and boating.

Since our mid-30's we had talked about retiring early to see the good ole' USA. Roughly 10-12 years ago we heard about "full-timing". Full-timing is loosely defined as living solely in a RV (recreational vehicle) and this seemed perfect to us! No house, no lawn, no mortgage. Hmmm.... Maybe not what everyone would want, but we couldn't imagine anything more perfect.

In the meantime, our sons grew up and left home for lives of their own. We continued our jobs - and enjoyed them - but our decisions were primarily based on preparing ourselves to retire early and begin a whole new lifestyle.

In March of 2007, we attended a Life on Wheels (LOW) conference in Tucson, AZ. Besides attending educational seminars designed to help people learn about the RVing life (such as water systems, air brakes, finding campgrounds, fire safety, etc.), we also met 8 or 9 other couples who, like us, were planning to start full-timing sometime during the year of 2007. We were hooked - these people were great fun and we felt sure this lifestyle would suit us just fine!

So, in May 2007 we retired from our jobs in Anchorage and, after spending a couple of weeks assisting parents with house projects, we hit the road in our new little tow car (no RV yet...). We had a wonderful trip south, by road and by Alaska State Ferry and then spent the summer with our very good friends, Curt and Diane, in southeastern Washington.

In early November, our condo in Anchorage finally sold. We signed the faxed paperwork in Detroit, Michigan, where we immediately purchased a 2000 Country Coach Allure 36' diesel pusher motorhome.
Finally! We were officially full-timers!!! And, boy, did we have a lot to learn....

Anyway, since that exciting beginning we have stayed in campgrounds, casinos, friends' and families' yards, repair shops, schools, rest areas, and even done some boondocking in highway pull-outs. We've been through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and two Canadian provinces, British Columbia and the Yukon. We've squeaked through narrow construction areas, explored a ditch in Missouri, learned to be very careful about venturing down narrow country roads, climbed up and down steep mountainsides, and discovered that people really do pay attention to you when you're this big!! But the very best thing of all (next to all the incredible things we've seen) is the opportunity we've had to visit many family members and friends that we never used to be able to see this often. And, we have new friends now - you can't beat the RVing world for good, old-fashioned friendliness!

Which brings me to today.... We are just finishing up a four-day reunion with our "Class of 2007" in Boerne, TX. Four of the couples from the original group in Tucson in March 2007 are here, plus eleven more couples and three singles. The food and friends - both old and new - have been wonderful! We've learned a little about geocaching, geneology and blogging and gained several pounds from the fantastic eats and drinks! Thanks, class - it's been a blast!

Tomorrow we'll head back down to the Rio Grande Valley where we've been since early December. Our days as "Winter Texans" are numbered, but new adventures await!