Sunday, September 30, 2012

All A-flutter

We pulled the canopy down yesterday, trying to get some shade. Turns out this area has heavy overnight winds.  I was so certain the canopy would be ripped off the side, I woke up Kazumi, and we rolled it back up. Good thing there was a full moon.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Night Calls

I went out for a walk last night, enjoying the full moon. When I got back to the RV, I heard a dog barking in the distance. A moment later, I heard what he was barking at: a group of coyotes, howling at the moon.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Centennial RV Park

Around 5PM, we drove through Montrose, wandered ten miles south, and pulled into the Centennial RV Park.  A bit too late in the evening to set up the Dish antenna, so that will have to wait until the sun is out again.

Nice park, nice people.  The grounds are nice and well-groomed, the spots are large, and each has its own grassy area and picnic table.

Until October 25th, this is our back yard.

Winter Wonderland

My wife was driving when we reached Monarch Pass. Half-way up the mountain, it started to rain. Then it turned to snow. Then the snow started to stick. By the time we reached the top, it was two inches deep, and I wanted to sing Christmas carols. In September.  I tried to get a few shots of the snow at the top, but I think the camera was too afraid.

Riding in RVs with Dogs

I was concerned that "the girls" would not travel well, since at least two are afraid of the car, and the other can't sit still. They adapted well to the RV, though. Perhaps they knew it was a rolling house. Perhaps living in it for two weeks prior to leaving helped.

Anzu settled right in ...

as did Cutie ...

... but Kome insisted on standing guard.

Approaching Monarch Pass

We saw this cloud-covered mountain ahead of us, just past Salida. I tried several times to get a good shot of it, and these were the best (even so, they still had to be brightened).

We realized later that this was Monarch Mountain.


Curecanti National Recreation Area is a beautiful place, which separates the highway from West Elk Wilderness Area, from whence we did not see any elk. We rode along Blue Mesa Reservoir (from whence we did not see a blue mesa) until near Cimarron. We rounded a corner, and there opened up a beautiful river gorge: stone walls of a deep chasm, a thread of a river flowing at the bottom. Again, I regretted my choice of camera.

Oh, deer

Somewhere past Salida -- I think it was in Poncha Springs -- we saw a line of on-coming cars stopped ahead. As we drove closer, we saw the reason: two big beautiful bucks standing in the middle of the road. Just standing there, watching the cars. Finally, they decided the cars weren't interesting enough, and loped off into a nearby field. And I regretted my choice of camera.

Lunch Time!

As mentioned before, we left Pueblo late in the morning, which meant we stopped for lunch earlier in the trip than we had intended, My plan was to stop in Salida for some take-out lunch. Thankfully, my wife planned for eating on the roadside, and packed sandwiches. Along about noon, we stopped at this pretty little spot for lunch ...

... and enjoyed this view while eating.

On the Road to Cotopaxi

Since before we reached Canon City, we saw distance signs for Cotopaxi. 37 miles, 28 miles, 14 miles, and so on. When I saw the city-limit sign, I said, "Ah! We're entering Cotopaxi ... and now we're leaving Cotopaxi." I have no idea why the sign makers thought it was important enough to mention.

Traveling to Montrose

I had it all planned out perfectly: up at 5AM, breakfast and a newspaper, then load everything into the RV; gas up, and be on the road by 9 o'clock; Montrose by three in the afternoon.

Of course, nothing ever goes according to plan.

We got up and had breakfast, but it was still too dark to do anything useful outside. We got the last of everything in the rig, but had trouble fixing the satellite antenna to the car trailer. Then we had to get gas. I never imagined how long it would take to pump 58 gallons of fuel. Thank goodness we started with half a tank. On the road finally at 10:30 or so. Seven hours later, it was almost dark when we arrived at the RV park, too late tor half the setup we needed to do. We had to rough it the first night -- which means no TV.

Almost all of the trip was on what are referred to as "blue highways" -- which, strangely, are red on my map. These are usually major routes, but are only two lanes. We've pretty much decided that we're going to avoid divided highways as much as possible, in order to see more of our beautiful country.

We followed the Arkansas River for a good third of the trip. So much wonderful scenery, I now regret buying a cheapo $10 digital camera. Each turn brought something more beautiful than the last. Sadly, if I wanted a good photo, I had to be standing still for a long time. If anyone wants to donate a real digital camera to the cause, let me know.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Floors

During the moving sale, I mentioned to one of the shoppers that the toilet in the RV was leaking.  He submitted that his son did odd jobs, among them, plumbing.  He promised the price would be reasonable, so I told him to bring his son over this week.

"Rob" was his name, and he showed up an hour late on Monday to look at the toilet.  He figured out where the leak was, and returned the next day to pull the toilet, fix the pipe, and replace it.  As he did so, we noticed that the carpet underneath the toilet was sodden and moldy.  Rob said it would have to be redone.  He pulled the carpet, and we found the wood beneath to be rotten.  I know enough about carpentry (in truth, I could build a house) to see that the whole thing had to be torn out and replaced.

As we discussed the needed repairs, Rob suggested that he replace the ruined carpet with linoleum.

"You know how to lay linoleum?" I asked.
"Sure," he replied.
I pondered my next question for the briefest of seconds: "How much to do the whole rig?"

$200 later, we have a new bathroom, and nice, shiny linoleum floors throughout.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Moving Sale: Everything Must Go!

Over the course of my life, I have lived in about ten or twelve states; Kazumi has lived in six or seven.  With each move, we lose more things.  Some things are forgotten, some deliberately left behind, some are sold or given away.  Still, in our eleven years together, we've accumulated a healthy number of knick-knacks, geegaws, and items serving no other purpose than decorative.

With this move, however, we can only take what fits, and "what fits" describes a very small subset of our belongings.  I'm bringing my guitar, so I'm also bringing my music books.  I have a large number of reference books I need for work and my writing.  Kazumi trimed down the kitchen necessities to only those utensils which are actually necessary: the stand mixer, ice cream machine, popcorn maker, waffle iron, and a host of other appliances just didn't make the cut.  Clothes and food filled the remaining cabinets.

That still left many possessions we couldn't bring alone.  And that meant we had to have a yard sale.  Now, I wasn't about to lug all this stuff half-way to the street, so we called it a "moving sale", and left the front door wide open.

The sale was Friday through Sunday.  I spent as much time working as I could -- in the RV, of course -- but came into the house whenever we had visitors.  The crowd was terrific beginning early Friday morning, and sparse the other two days.  It was difficult watching the things we had accumulated being sold for pennies on the dollar, especially knowing that many of the shoppers who appeared the first day were dealers, who would sell these items for far more than they paid.  Still, we sold almost everything, and made almost $2000 over the weekend.  That paid for half the RV.  We were prepared to donate the few remaining items when one of the buyers from Friday showed up, and offered us $25 for everything that remained.  Again, it hurt, knowing the value was several hundred dollars, but it was that, or nothing.

Now the house was empty, except for the kitchen, where Kazumi only had a few pots and pans, and some food.  Ten more days, and we'll be on the road.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Moving In

If the goal is to live in an RV, then it makes sense to get in a little "practice" before diving in head-long.  We were no longer planning to ease into the life, so over the course of the past week or so, we gradually shifted our living space from the house to the RV.  I've been writing at the dining room table for a couple of weeks, and a few days ago, I brought my desktop in, and began working my day job there was well..  So I've been "living" in the RV for a while, going into the house to eat, sleep, and for bathroom breaks.

Today, though, Kazumi and the dogs take up full-time residence.  Everything we need -- which is to say, everything that will fit -- is already in the vehicle, except for food and cooking utensils.  Those will go in later.  Tonight, we'll sleep in the RV.  Tomorrow, we'll wake and have breakfast (there's milk in the fridge and cereal in the cabinet).  I'll stay here and work, while Kazumi does her thing in and out of the house.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Making the Decision

Originally, we were going to plan the transition for several months, and gradually work our way into RV life.  A weekend away to get used to the idea, a week in the mountains to work out the kinks, building up to several weeks before going full-time.  That was my plan, at least.

We realized, though, that we've been planning this adventure for at least five years.  We've researched the heck out of this idea.  We already know most of the issues, the problems we'll encounter, the costs involved, and a lot of what RV life is like.  Any further planning would be superfluous.

So we changed our plans.  The first of October, we were going to hit the road.  I wanted to see the hot-air balloon festival in Albuquerque.  I called all of the RV parks I could find.  Everyone was booked for the festival.  No one had space for the week of the balloon festival, and fewer had monthly space available.  I learned that the best time to book for that October event was the previous November.

It was back to the drawing board.  Kazumi and I talked it over, and the coversation boiled down to one question: Did we want to "do things", or did we want to see the country.  We agreed that seeing the country was more important than any events, no matter how exciting, we might miss.

With that in mind, I furthered my research, and found a nice little place on the other side of the Rockies, about 10 miles south of Montrose.  Thinking to avoid major cities, I booked a few other places as well, all the way into Arizona, at least three months ahead.  And somewhere along the line, we determined that October was too long to wait: we opted to leave on September 26, exactly two years after we arrived in Pueblo.