Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Just so close...

We're in Necedah and are enjoying 60 degrees temps!  We just checked into the Necedah Motel,  recommended by Cary at Camp-inn.  Clean and simple,  it's the perfect place.

Two days of travel after Pittsburgh brought us to S. Bend,  Indiana where we stayed last night.  We traveled about 700 miles yesterday and today.  Mostly we drove interstates and had a lot of tolls. Again, both days had us cruising by lots of farms, with the classic red or white barns and brick farm houses. Beautiful!

With all of the open space, we were looking for American kestrels, but saw none.  We did see many red-tailed hawks and a couple of hundred or so turkey vultures.  Weather has been sunny with the exception of thick fog as we headed out west from S. Bend this morning.

Entering Wisconsin was exciting for us and it was made even better by being offered free Jelly Belly beans at the welcome center!  One of my weaknesses!

Fuel mpg at 21 today; yesterday we had strong headwinds and only got about 17.  Gas prices are around $2.40/gallon.

Doubt we will sleep much tonight.  Our appointment is at around 9:30am.  We are just so excited and I know we will have much to report tomorrow!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Blast Off!

We have launched!   We are northwest of Pittsburgh at a Fairfield inn with our feet up and T.V. on. We traveled about 331 miles on route 76 through Philadelphia and Harrisburg with no traffic issues.  Passed by lots of vast farmland and through several tunnels that were blasted through mountains.

Got 24 mpg, traveling at 60 mph. Once we added air to our new tires, we saw the improvement to our miles per gallon.  Gas cost $2.60/gallon. Ick!

Our appointment is on Wednesday at 9:30a.m. to meet our teardrop and learn all about her. We'll get to Necedah, WI on Tuesday evening, after spending tomorrow night in South Bend,IN.

Had a great visit with Michael's mom and family.  Not surprising, I teared up when we left!  I'm consistent if nothing else!   But, the bittersweet turned all sweet once we hit the road! We are super excited!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pooped and Recovering

It has been a tiring week that ended with our departure on Sunday to NJ to visit friends and family.  We thought we were well prepared, but as always, when it gets down to the wire, you find all sorts of last minute loose ends.  Mostly it was cleaning our apartment (a duplex) from top to bottom for the landlord inspection.  What we thought would take a day took much more time and we were still cleaning after the inspection!  We passed and will get our security deposit back in full, but the two of us were just worn out by Saturday, and delayed our drive to NJ until Sunday.

Part of the wear and tear on us was Michael being so sick, and me picking up more to do to compensate.  He did as much as he could, but now days later he is still not well.  We had to get our last mountain of trash to the dumpster on Sat., pack the car in a wet, sloppy snowfall and we weren't done until 5:30pm.  W ended up staying at a local hotel Saturday night.

Now it is Tuesday!  We visited our dear friend Pam in northern NJ on Sunday, and are presently with Billie and Allen until tomorrow.  These have been the best visits and it makes us aware of how much we love our friends.  We will stay in touch, of course, but leaving is still a bit rough on us.

The car is packed to the rafters!  We have a cargo box as well, which is fully loaded.  Once we have the teardrop, and everything is packed in it and organized, the cargo area of the car will be much more under control!

I am still bewildered about the fact I am retired and not on vacation!!  I think once we are headed to WI, I will finally be convinced that we are really into this new chapter of our life.  The excitement is palpable!

So, we are "recovering" from our fatigue and getting psyched up for the trip to Necedah, WI!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

4 More Days until Lift-off

Yesterday we got a lot accomplished.  Bags of garbage taken to the dumpster.  I went through my scrapbooks and photo albums and pulled out especially precious pages and photos to consider keeping, or photographing with the camera.  The rest was dumped.

Finally worked out the state and federal tax return issues from the H&R Block site, but no thanks to them.  Their process was poor at best when it came time to try and file.

Finished packing our 'take with us' plastic tubs.

I finished packing up boxes of items to be sent to my sisters for their use or safekeeping.  Made some necessary phone calls.

All in all, we pretty much got through our 'to-do' list.

Michael still as a heavy duty cough and feels kind of yucky, but he did say he felt better than the day before, so it looks like the he may be turning a corner.

Some friends coming by for last minute items to pick up and give new homes to...the TV and DVR player, some cookware, etc.

Tensions are rising somewhat due to our departure date looming very closely.  We now each have the liberty of calling for a timeout, if it looks like we might escalate into a fight.  We used it last night, and it made us laugh!  We avoided an argument and were able to talk through the issue.

What to do next??

Today is heavy duty cleaning day for our landlord inspection tomorrow morning.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Countdown to Lift-off - 6 days

Michael is sick,  He has a bad chest cold of some sort going on.  Fever, chills, and awful cough.  Saw the doctor today (Monday) and he is now on an antibiotic as she is concerned it could go to pneumonia.  He even has an ear infection.  My poor boy.  Hopefully he will hit this out of the park quickly.

Today (Monday) I said my "so long" to Sandra, but not a real goodbye as we plan on seeing her and her family in April of next year at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah for a week of volunteering with the animals.  Nonetheless, I cried and felt so sad I won't see her for a year.  But, we will be in touch regularly through email, phone, blog, snail mail, you name it.  But, I left her feeling a bit empty.

It is really Tuesday, at 2:30 a.m.  I just went through all of my scrapbooks and pulled out about 10 layouts with photos that I'd like to keep.  I also collected about a dozen photos to bring along.  The rest hit the dumpster.  The two scrapbooks I am saving are on our bicycle Odyssey back in 1994/1995 and one on our family history.  I will send them off to Harriet or Linda to hold onto.

Did another 2 loads of Wonder Wash laundry and I love this thing!  Nice clean clothes!

For later today, well, it will be busy and productive.  Will load the car with packages to ship to Linda and Harriet on Friday.  That will clear out some floor space and then I can attack cleaning and getting the apartment ready for Thursday's inspection, and for Friday's Habitat for Humanity pick-up of our donated items.  Trash runs needed, too.  A few calls to make including H&R Block - our Federal return won't e-file like it should.

Feel a whirlwind of emotions and am tired...but that thought of departing this weekend for our big adventure keeps my spirits buoyed,  We decided to leave for NJ on Saturday, rather than Friday, for a bunch of reasons, but mostly to give Michael an extra day to get better.

Will report in tonight.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Better than a Maytag!

I washed two loads of laundry in my Wonder Wash clothes washer today and they came out clean!  I have never been excited about doing laundry, ever.  Today I was thrilled!  It's our portable, hand-cranked washing machine!

Little things make me happy!!  Since our big washing machine went out the door a week ago, it was this or the laundromat.  I chose Wonder Wash!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Friends Tried and True, Old and New

What a week it's been!  Full of friendship and food!  Right up my alley!

Friends have taken us out to lunch and dinner three times since Tuesday and it's only Thursday.  I am awestruck by the generosity and we so appreciate these friends.  On Tuesday we had lunch with Marie and Julie at the Scargo Cafe, Barb and Betsy took us out for lunch at the Marshside restaurant yesterday, and last night the bird festival committee, Gerry, Fran, David, and Stefanie took us to the Brazilian Grill.

These were high-spirited meals with lots of great conversation.  Afterwards, I felt that combination of feelings that equal 'bittersweet'.  It is hard to leave friends who have made a deep impression on me.  But then today, I learned that our future holds so many opportunities for new friendships.

Michael and I drove 2+ hours to meet Jackie and Bruce face-to-face halfway between our Dennis home and their Poland, Maine home.  We met them initially through the Camp-Inn forum when they saw we were from New England. Bruce had sent me a message about a teardrop rally in northern CA in early May and suggested that we come to it and camp with them.  After a bunch of emails and a couple of phone calls, we planned to get together in Peabody today.  We found each other easily at the Home Depot rendezvous spot and went off to Applebee's for lunch.  We all agreed that it only took a few minutes to feel our friendship click!  What great people and so easy to be with.  We talked camping and teardrops and past and future travels.  It was so much fun and the next time we get together we will be on the west coast!

So, lucky for us, we look forward to this and future new friendships.  Makes the current separations a little more manageable.  Today, it felt like our big adventure had begun!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Making Progress!

Sunday I was hitting brick walls and couldn't get some things accomplished that I wanted to cross of our to-do list.  Yesterday was the total opposite.  I connected with the health plan Marketplace, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and next on my list was to connect with Social Security to check on my application.  Before I could call them, they actually called me to tell me my application was approved and to review details! Holy cow -- I couldn't believe how things are falling into place!

Michael and I ran some errands, and treated ourselves to lunch at our favorite spot, Grumpy's!  We will miss that place, the staff and the fabulous food at great prices!  If you're ever in E. Dennis, MA, you need to eat there!  www.grumpyscapecod.com

Last night we pulled all of our plastic tubs out with our gear and clothing for the Odyssey and started going through each plastic tub to again do inventory and reduce the amount of stuff we will bring with us.  It's amazing on two counts...we didn't save this to do at the last minute (we are known to have done this in the past!), and secondly, that we have actually pulled a bunch of clothes and gear to donate and reduce our load!

When we did our loaded cross-country loaded bike trip across the US in the 90's, we left southern NJ to take the ferry over to Lewes, DE.  When we got to the campground there, we unloaded 10 lbs. of gear and sent it back home.  We still laugh about it, but we have learned our lesson about sensible packing!

We are donating our clothes dryer and remaining furniture (not much!) hopefully to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore.  Need to call them and get the details. Dishes and any remaining food will go to the local food pantry. Then, we are pretty much down to our camp chairs!!  Whooo Hooo!

Yes, our excitement is building.  It is now dawning on us that this is all real!!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Reflection for Sunday

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Attributed to Mark Twain

It Started as One of Those Days

I feel the stress and frustration to the point of sore neck and shoulder muscles!  I am working on calming down. 

Let's see why I was a crazy...okay, first was being shut out of my Social Security account, because although 3 times I typed my user name and password as done previously, SS didn't recognize them!  Of, course you can't call them today -- it's Sunday!  And although it's Sunday, I can actually call Blue Cross/Blue Shield (have some questions) and because they have my birth date incorrect, I have to call the Healthcare Marketplace.  So, I do that, and get a service rep pretty quickly...hallelujah!  Miracles happen.  Then I am told they are having computer issues and to call back.  You know how it is when your best laid plans go awry, or whatever the expression is.

So, onto other things.

Fun stuff yesterday...we bought supplies for our galley, things that squoosh down to being flat like a silicone colander.  E-cloths, towels and scrubbers, that don't require soap  (google 'e-cloths' to read about how cool they are!).  A percolator coffee pot (shades of my childhood and my parents perking their coffee!).  Skinny flexible cutting mats.  A small can-opener.  Lodge pan lid for our 8" skillet.  Camp Suds (biodegradable). 

And our tire boot came yesterday -- hopefully another deterrent for possible theft attempts (Michael has also bought locks for the hatch too.).

It is now time to go through our to-do list.  And definitely make time to sit outside and watch the birds at the feeders...it's in the upper 30's!  Almost spring-like!

Thirteen days until lift off!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Officially Retired - Go Girl!!

March 1, was my last day of work.  Well, almost.  We interviewed three candidates for my position and once a hire is made, I will go in for a day or two to train that person.  Then, truly no more work!

My co-workers threw a party for me a week ago today, and along with the staff about 35 volunteers came.  So, I wore my emotions on my sleeve and cried the whole time.  I love these folks and it is hard to leave them.  But the upside is that many of us will remain in touch through this blog or emails.

I received a number of very thoughtful and generous gifts and cards, so again I was moved as I went through  everything.  All I can say is "wow"!

So this week I did not have to get up for work!  No morning alarm blaring!  I like that this is the future for me! However, our bed sold this week so we have been sleeping on the floor with camping sleeping pads and sleeping bags to provide some cushioning.  It has become more comfortable as each night goes by, but it has taken a toll on my lower back.  Can't wait to sleep on our queen size mattress in our teardrop!  April 1st is that first night!

Our sofa and chair sold too, so we are sitting on our camp chairs!

 This week has been busy with prepping.  And writing thank you notes.  And planning our route.  Fun stuff!

Watching morning news and just heard the phrase "reinventing yourself".  I think that's what I am doing with our "Odyssey".  On some level, I am focusing on having a sense of youth, of energy, and of more mindfulness.  Of being more spirited on a higher level.  Of being more fit and taking better care of myself.  I want that feeling of revitalization.  That's a gift I am giving myself.