Tag Archives: RV

Happy Trails, Part 62

I anticipated that the pace of transition would quicken as we prepare to relocate from Amarillo to somewhere near our granddaughter, her parents and her brothers.

I didn’t quite expect the feeling of anxiety that would come with the speeding up of that transition.

Most of our belongings are stored away in Amarillo; the rest of them are stuffed into our recreational vehicle.

And today, the painters went to work refreshing the interior of the house we used to call “home.” We don’t yet have a timeline on when to expect them to finish. The lead painter vowed to work extra hard to get it done before Christmas. I am in no position to question whether he can get it done.

Anxiety? It’s not serious. It’s just a bit overwhelming — at least it is for me — to watch these men I’ve never seen before scurrying around our house taping windows, masking kitchen cabinets and laying butcher paper over every square inch of our floor.

It seems like just yesterday that the house was where my wife and I hung our hats, where we relaxed with the joy of knowing the property was all ours.

It’s still ours, but we now are calling another place “home” while we prepare for this next big challenge in our life together.

Get a load of this, though: The painters tell us the house is going to look “so good, you won’t want to leave.”

Uh, let me ponder that one.

OK. I just did.

Not a chance. Get to work, fellas.

Happy Trails, Part 61

Now, wait just a doggone minute!

My wife, Toby and Puppy and I are holed up at an RV park on what I have described as the Texas Tundra, where it’s plenty cold.

Wait! I awoke this morning to learn that snow is falling down yonder in that so-called “warm climate” area of Texas. Corpus Christi? Snow. The Golden Triangle (where my wife and I raised our sons)? Same thing.

One of our dear friends in Beaumont has referred to it all as the meteorological “weirdometer.” It’s snowing where it ain’t supposed to snow, but it’s still dry where it does snow, she says.

Yeah, that’s weird, kid.

Climate change? Is it really and truly changing? Aww, I won’t go there … this time.

Our retirement journey has taken a strange turn. Our intention is to spend much of the winter pulling our fifth-wheel RV to “sunny and warm” climes relatively close to home while we try to sell the house where we lived for 21 years.

Maybe we’ll make it happen. Eventually. It’s just a good thing we have no immediate plans to hit the road for points south.

We have to wait for the snow to clear out.

Good grief! Weird!

Happy Trails, Part 60

I have known this all along, but we’re about to realize it in the moment. In real time.

When we vacated our house and moved full time into our fifth wheel recreational vehicle, we knew we could take our “home” with us whenever we felt like it.

For the first time in both of our lives, my wife and I are totally mobile.

Most of our worldly possessions are stored away safely. The mover took care of it. We have more of them with us in our RV. We’re packed pretty tightly into our vehicle, although we’re mindful about avoiding carrying too much weight behind our big ol’ pickup that we have named Big Jake.

We got some news recently about the RV park where we’ve lived for about a month: our rates are going up soon.

Our reaction? We’re going to move. We believe we’ve found a second site to park our vehicle. We’ll make the move in due course.

But first, we’re planning to spend some more time in our current location. Then we’ll clear the deck around our RV, unhook it from the utilities, back the truck up under the RV hitch, hook ‘er up and then we’ll hit the road.

This mobility mode takes some getting used to, I’ll have to admit. My wife and I both have been tethered to houses attached to terra firma.

For the time being, we’re on the move.

Happy Trails, Part 59

I want to declare myself officially to be a 21st-century American male.

Why now? Why the declaration?

It’s been more than one month since my wife and I pulled the plug on our land line. We did so prior to setting out in our RV for points west. We ended up in Portland, Ore., where I attended my 50-year high school reunion; then we hauled our RV back home.

But the absence of the land line has been a blessing, it seems to me. I don’t miss it. I don’t miss giving it out when folks ask me for a contact number. I just give ’em my cell number, as if it’s second nature. Even that signals a victory of sorts, given that I once declared my intention to be the last man on Earth to own a cell phone. I finally declared victory and purchased one.

How about that? Are you impressed? If not, you should be. I am.

Our house is now vacant. We’re ensconced full time in our RV. We’re preparing to put the house on the market. Then we’ll hope for the best.

Thus, a land line no longer is an option for us — even if we wanted one.

Friends and family members who long ago ditched their land lines have told us how easy it is to make that transition. I didn’t disbelieve them. However, one month into the transition ourselves, I am finding the ease of it so very believable.

Puppy Tales, Part 42

I have boasted about my own adaptability in the face of upcoming big changes in our life. However, I am a piker compared to Toby the Puppy when it comes to adaptability. For that matter, so is my wife.

Toby has adjusted quite nicely to RV living. That, full-time RV living.

We have taken the plunge. We have vacated our house and moved full-time, all the time into our 28-foot fifth wheel.

How has Toby the coped with the change? Just fine. Thanks for asking.

He’s a puppy with relatively few needs. All he seems to insist on is for Mommy and Daddy to be nearby. We are happy to oblige.

Yes, he has been forced to make his share of adjustments, just as my wife and I have made them. Perhaps the major adjustment in Toby’s life has been for him to tell us he needs to go outside. It’s a non-verbal request, to be sure. He goes to the door of our RV, stands there looking anxious. My wife and I have become quite fluent puppy body language.

It used to be easier for Toby. Going outside meant he would open the back door of our house and turn him loose into our fenced-in backyard. These days, the process requires us to attach a leash to his collar or his jacket. Then we have to go out with him.

That is not an issue for either my wife or me.

We still toss his toys and he still fetches them and brings them back to us.

Toby sleeps through the night and in fact gets so comfortable he’s often the last one to roll out of the sack in the morning.

Adaptable? Yep, Toby the Puppy is the canine definition of the term.

Happy Trails, Part 58

Here it comes.

My wife and I are about to enter a critical new phase in our post-retirement journey.

This is big, man! Huge! There’s no turning back from this one!

Very soon, movers are coming to our house and are going to haul our possessions off to a storage unit in downtown Amarillo, Texas.

Why is this so huge? Well, it means we have nowhere other than our recreational vehicle to sleep at night. It means we’re officially living in our RV. It becomes officially a full-time gig.

We are parked at an RV park just off of Interstate 40.

Once we clear this next big hurdle, which will be … uh … very soon, then we commence the next big challenge. That will involve getting a real estate agent to the house to give us a candid assessment of what we should ask for the place we used to call “home.”

Retirement came in an unexpected fashion to me. It arrived five years ago in a moment I was only half-expecting. I smelled a rat when my employer announced a “reorganization” effort was underway. When I learned that the “new direction” my employer was going wouldn’t include me, I resigned immediately. Then I worked a few part-time gigs, even as I applied for Social Security retirement income commencing when I turned 66.

As I look back on that moment in my life, I realize now how simple it was to transition from full-time to part-time work. There were plenty of opportunities for me to pursue elements of the career I had enjoyed for nearly four decades.

None of it matched the challenge that is about to come our way as we prepare to vacate permanently the house where we lived for 21 years.

Here, though, is the really good news: I am ready for it.

Happy Trails, Part 55

I enjoy answering questions about our plans to relocate from Amarillo.

The question came to my wife and me once again today: What are your plans? Where do you plan to go?

Our answer? We don’t know. We’re playing it by ear. We have a general idea, but we don’t have a destination.

The person — a recent acquaintance — who asked us about our plans gets it. She, too, is recently retired; she taught school for many years and is planning to purchase an RV and hit the road.

She noted that we spend our professional lives at work having to be somewhere at certain times. We’re on deadline.

Ah, yes. Those days are behind us now. It’s one of the joys my wife and I are getting out of this retirement life of ours. We don’t have to be anywhere. We both worked hard for many years in our respective careers. At this stage in our life together we feel a sense of entitlement that we no longer are punching the proverbial time clock.

So it is with our pending move.

We have hired a mover to haul our possessions out of our house. They’ll be placed in storage. We’re going to talk very soon with a real estate broker about marketing strategies for selling the house we’ve owned for more than two decades. We’ll get it fixed up. We will put it on the market. We will hope it sells quickly.

After that? We don’t know.

We have developed a general strategy for how we’re going to approach the purchase of a new home. We do not yet have a precise destination in mind, but we will have plenty of help awaiting us when we get ready to start shopping for a place to land.

Until then … the open road awaits.

Happy Trails, Part 53

I’ve told you already about how adaptable I am, how it has surprised me over many years.

Never did I imagine moving from my home state of Oregon to Texas. But we did in 1984. I adapted to a new life.

Then we moved from the Golden Triangle — an area known for swamps, bugs, gators and stifling humidity — for the High Plains, which has virtually none of what I’ve just described. I adapted to that, too.

Now I am proud to declare my adaptability stretches to the cutting of the land line that tethered me for my entire life.

My wife and I made that decision just before we shoved off in our pickup and our fifth wheel RV for Oregon. We severed the land line. We rely these days exclusively on our cell phones. She has her number; I have mine.

When I get asked for a “contact number,” I now respond without thinking with my cell phone number.

I mention this only because we’re moving farther into this retirement phase of our life. The cell phones give us mobility. Yes, they only are symbols of our mobility, but that symbolism does translate to the real thing.

Being someone in my late 60s, I suppose I can be accused of being rather somewhat “stuck in my ways.” Time has taught me over the years that change is inevitable. I can react one of two ways: to embrace it or run from it.

I have chosen the former.

This cell phone reliance has demonstrated — I believe — that I am finally a 21st-century human being.

I have learned to adapt. Now I await the challenges of the next chapter of our life.

Bring it!

‘Living the dream,’ really and truly

We’ve all either said it or heard it said by someone else.

“How’s it going for you?”

“I’m living the dream, man.”

We know that the “living the dream” quip is meant usually as a bit of self-deprecation. When I say it, though, I mean it. I am not making fun of myself. I truly am living the dream.

The dream includes coming and going (more or less) as I please; my wife of 46-plus years has a bit to say about that, but she’s not terribly demanding of my time.

Today I got a chance to speak to an Amarillo, Texas service organization. Someone from that group was familiar with this blog; he said he reads it “fairly regularly” and likes a lot of what I write. He admitted he’s not too keen on the political stuff that spews from High Plains Blogger. I get that. I live in the middle of Republican-Red Trump Country and this blog is decidedly not cast from that mold.

He likes to read the retirement posts, entries about my precious granddaughter, about Toby the Puppy and the other “life experience” matters that grab my attention from time to time.

So he asked me to speak to his service club. I did so. I got to boast — if you want to call it that — about the indisputable fact that there truly is life after journalism.

I pursued print journalism singularly for nearly 37 years, I told these good folks. I gave them the extremely short version of how that fruitful and moderately successful career came to an end at the Amarillo Globe-News on Aug. 31, 2012. I told them about how Mom and Dad suggested journalism to me at the dinner table one night in 1970 shortly after I returned home from the Army and was getting ready to go back to college.

I then told them a bit about my career and how I enjoyed it so greatly for almost its entire length of time.

But that was then. The here and now allows me to write this blog and to express myself beholden only to my own conscience. I no longer work for The Man.

Thus, I am living the dream. It’s no put-down, either.

Puppy Tales, Part 40

I already have declared Toby the Puppy to be the all-time greatest road warrior in the history of doghood. I also have proclaimed him to be the smartest, best-behaved and cutest puppy as well.

He joined our family slightly more than three years ago and he has blessed my wife and me daily ever since. He has made us laugh every single day since our great-niece brought him home Labor Day Weekend 2014 after finding him curled up next to a Dumpster in an alley.

Toby’s understanding of the English language, however, has taken a new turn. It occurred to us while we were on our three-week RV trip from Texas to Oregon and then back.

I occasionally turn in for the night first. I did so fairly routinely on our 4,200-mile journey out west.

I would fall into bed and then my wife would say to Toby, “OK, Puppy, go on to bed and snuggle with Daddy.” At that, Toby would jump down off his mother’s lap, scamper across the floor, jump into bed and curl up next to my legs. I would throw a blanket over him and that’s that. Lights out for Toby.

I want to bring this up to illustrate that my wife spoke to our puppy in a complete sentence. He understood it. He then responded appropriately.

It reminds me of how Lassie would respond to Timmy’s distress calls, how the boy would tell the dog to fetch Mom and Dad and rescue him from the well. Or how Rin Tin Tin would aid the soldiers from Fort Apache, alerting them on where the Indians were waiting to ambush them.

OK, I exaggerate, but you get my point, yes?

I don’t expect TV studios to call us while looking for the next Super Dog to cast in a series. For one thing, they don’t make those kinds of TV shows these days.

Then again, if studio moguls are interested, I’ve got just the puppy.