5/1/17 Monday in Spokane Valley, WA (HOME!)
Oh, happy day, we’ve headed home, around 7:50. Here are some images looking out from the Crescent Bar campground – right on the Columbia River.
An interesting thing happened last night. John was in bed and as I was getting ready for bed I noticed orange flashing lights on our washer. Strange since we haven’t used it in over a week. Still, I didn’t feel good leaving the blinking all night, nor enjoy the thought of trying to fix the issue before we left in the morning. So I got out the manual. It said to unplug the machine, wait a minute, then plug it back in. So I called on John to get to the plug. Lots of unscrewing ensued, he got to the plug, unplugged the wrong one (for the dryer), then got the right one. Sure enough, after we’d waited our minute then plugged it back in, I checked and the washer gave it’s normal indications. Poor John had to put everything back before crawling back into bed. Just about then I realized that our power had been out, right about the time the flashing signal came on. Oh well, we were fine now.
In the morning all our departure procedures went smoothly. John loves that he knows these roads like the back of his hand, so I didn’t bother with Sygic.
We’ll be home for the next 4 months, so I’m not likely to post during that time. Just the same, we have some big news to share. After much discussion we’ve decided to sell our Miss Journey. This may come as a shock for many, so I’ll give an explanation.
About 20 years ago we bought a tent trailer, thoroughly enjoying how comfortable it was compared to tent camping. We got the boys to join us a few times but they were teenagers and disinclined to enjoy that time with us. Wouldn’t you know, just when we could afford a better way to camp, they weren’t so interested. After a year or so we joined Thousand Trails, getting access to many northwest campgrounds (they like to call them preserves), with nature as the priority. There we met “fulltimers” who told us about a lifestyle of living on the road. We were enthralled, knew that we loved traveling and nature so we saved and planned for our retirement as Rvers. Note: I wanted to travel to far away countries while John preferred traveling on the ground, in an RV, throughout our country. He felt that should be done first. So I agreed.
Financially we were close to ready and found the perfect (we thought) RV: Miss Zanzibar, buying her in 2010, using our next 2 years to get her ready and ourselves accustomed to life in a diesel pusher motor home. Memorial Day, 2012, we took off in Miss Zanzibar, sharing our experiences in this blog. We’d planned to travel through all the contiguous states within the next 4 years. We missed a couple on the East coast and decided it wasn’t worth the terrible weather (tornadoes, floods, high winds) to see the plain states (Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa…). In 2014 we admitted that there were problems with Miss Zanzibar that couldn’t be solved (the slides didn’t fit in their openings well) that created constant struggles with using our slides. So we found Miss Journey, purchasing her in December 2014. Overall, she’s been a dream; to drive, to live in, to keep maintained.
A couple years ago we figured it would work well to shift from RV travel to other forms of travel in 2020. We would use a car, plane, ship or train to explore places we didn’t get to in the USA as well as far away countries. As the months went by we found ourselves seriously considering making this shift sooner. John’s mom is 93, so any time we could get the call to be at her side. Getting our RV into storage or driving her for a great many miles swiftly would be hard. Meanwhile, our grandchildren will be 7 and 11 this summer. We don’t have many more years before they’ll be teenagers and wanting to spend time with their friends instead of Grandma and Grandpa. We’ve been on the West coast a good deal now, so there’s more often the feeling of “been there, done that”. Added to these is the reality that you don’t really escape the very cold/hot weather in an RV. You try, but it can catch you just the same. When you’re in a home, it’s so well insulated you hardly notice the weather outside and can control how much you are in that weather when you’re retired. Living in an RV you feel the effects of weather far more. The RV holds outside temperature more like a car than a house: they’re not so well insulated. When it’s 95 degrees and above (as it was for 3 weeks in Mesa, AZ), the RV’s heat pumps/air conditioners struggle, getting lucky if they can cool you by 10 degrees. When it’s below freezing you need to bring in your water filter and unhook your water line. We don’t heat during the night because it’s loud, so we burrow under covers and dread getting out in the morning. It takes a good while to warm up then and because our power is limited often to 30 amps (compared to 200+ amps in a home), so often we need to turn off our heaters while cooking breakfast, to stay within our amperage. Brrr. Lastly, our Miss Journey is 5 years old this year. Recommendations are to buy an RV that’s from 2-5 years old; old enough to lessen the depreciation loss and new enough so you’ll have many years of enjoyment before appliances and the like break down.
So above are our reasons for shifting to other forms of travel now. It’s not easy, because we also feel SO comfortable with this lifestyle and this RV compared to those first years. Really wish we’d had Miss Journey in the first place, but you could say we learned LOTS with Miss Zanzibar. Anyway, the challenges seem so much fewer with our 5 years of experience, thus the RV life is more enjoyable. Also we’ve made so many special friends in this RV world that we’re far less likely to see again. Very hard to contemplate that. You could say we’re torn. As John once said, we could just as easily make a case for waiting longer before making this shift as for doing it now.
Currently, we plan to put Miss Journey for sale on consignment in Spokane this summer. If she doesn’t sell, then this fall we’ll drive her (visiting friends and places along the way) to PPL in Texas, letting them put her up for sale on consignment. They have a really large base of possible customers – Texas sells the most RV’s in the country.
I’ll keep y’all posted. If you “follow” my blog you’ll get at email when I post and won’t need to check the blog for postings.
Our trip to Spokane was uneventful, arriving at 11:00. Good time for unloading all the food and whatever else we have the time and energy for.
UPDATE: I intended to post this blog on Monday, but we were too exhausted after spending the whole day hauling our stuff from the RV to our home. We barely managed lunch and dinner.
Tuesday: Grocery shopping (discount day at Fred Meyer), then continued moving items from the RV to our now crowded-with-piles home. Treated ourselves to dinner out at Red Robin (buy one burger get one half off). We did get to see a bit of Joe then, as he was our server. Afterwards, John soaked in our Jacuzzi.
Wednesday: With most of the items out of the top, we took the morning for errands: among them stopping at the fire station for a bolt cutter, to get a stubborn lock off our tow equipment. The last stop was at Freedom RV, to see what they had to offer in the way of consignment. They don’t operate like PPL (in Texas) which will keep 10% of the sales price and give you the rest. In Spokane the simply say we’ll guarantee selling your RV for, in our case, $100,000. Whatever they make over that is theirs. Bummer. We paid $149,000 for Miss Journey only 2.5 years ago. The percentages these people take is worse than realtors take to sell your home. The guy in charge of consignments said that this was a good time since their stock of used diesel RV’s was low now due to a big sale they’d just completed. He also noted that it would be very helpful if we brought ours in before the weekend. We also realized that, after much rain and cold, the next few days would be the warmest yet. Just when people would get excited about purchasing an RV. So as soon as we got home I got busy washing out the cupboards, treating the wood, using Scotch Brite on the Corian, cleaning sinks and toilet and floors. By the end of the day my arms were so sore. I also called a competitor of Freedom RV, asking for their consignment figures. They’d only guarantee $95,000. So we decided to stay with Freedom. John worked at emptying the basement and vacuuming it out. Our older shop vac died, but he had a smaller one (we’d carried in the RV) to carry on. After supper we each spent time in our whirlpool tub.
Thursday: Time to wash Miss Journey. John did the majority of it, which I was extremely grateful for. Unfortunately he discovered that 2 (radio?) antennas on the roof had been knocked over by the tree we had to drive under for our Crescent Bar site. We should have taken the not so level but clear of trees site. Oh well. By 2 pm he drove it (I followed) to Freedom RV, where we signed the paperwork to let them sell it for us. Other than that they just needed a copy of our title (it’s paid for). We only had a couple hours to rest before Joe arrived. This is his birthday, so we took him to “HuHot” for an all you can eat Mongolian BBQ. Boy, was that ever tasty. The rest of the evening we tried to tackle the various piles we’d been negotiating around. We’d also contacted Waste Management (we’d signed up for garbage service Tuesday) to find out about the garbage and recycle carts they were to deliver. They said it was likely we wouldn’t get them before the trucks came to pick up our garbage/recycling, but we could use other containers. So before retiring, we got that out to the curb. Whew-we have so much trash from cleaning out Miss Journey it was a relief to learn we could get rid of much of it so soon.
Friday: John went to Justin’s to mow his lawn (it’s huge and, because of all the rain, hadn’t been mown yet). He loves riding that lawn mower! I stayed home to tackle this blog and end of the month computer jobs.