Tag Archives: RV

Happy Trails, Part 113: Adult supervision anyone?

I don’t normally like discussing adult supervision in this blog, but since my High Plains Blogger profile talks about “life experience,” I want to offer a brief glimpse of what my wife and I witnessed on a quick trip back to Amarillo, Texas.

We saw first hand how adults should and should not handle minors under their supervision.

First, the “should not” example.

We were parked for three nights at an RV park in far west Amarillo. One afternoon, some kids walked by our fifth wheel and one of them pounded on the door. The noise upset Toby the Puppy. My wife and I went outside and confronted one of the boys and told him to quit doing that.

The boy kind of smirked back at me and said the culprit was a friend of his, who was nowhere to be seen. Fine. Then I said, “Just knock it off.”

Late that night, we turned in around 11 p.m. All three of us had gone to bed. Then came another knock on the door. The Puppy got upset again. We went outside. No sign of the kids.

Ah, but then we noticed an RV parked across the road from ours. We believed it belonged to the coach/dad who was accompanying the boys, who were part of a baseball team that was in Amarillo to play in a tournament; the visitors are from western Oklahoma.

We knocked on his door. Coach/Dad answered. “Are you the coach of the boys here?” my wife asked. “Yes.” Then we told him about what had just happened. He was mortified. One of those kids is his son, he said. He grabbed his cell phone and called his son. “Get back to the trailer — right now!” he said.

The kids returned. We went back to our RV. We watched the kids enter their trailer. We’ll presume Coach/Dad gave them a serious tongue-lashing.

Two quick points I want to make here: One is that the boys had no good reason to be out wandering through an RV park at 11 p.m. The adults should have reeled them in much earlier. The kids also should have been made to apologize for disturbing us; they didn’t do it.

Shame on Coach/Dad.

This morning we had breakfast at a restaurant near our Amarillo RV park. We ate our meal with our son. Then we finished, got up and walked toward the door. We noticed a group of Boy Scouts sitting quietly. They were eating their meal, too. We hardly knew they were in the room.

Those boys were exhibiting discipline, decorum and good manners.

Good job to their scoutmaster.

There. Rant over. We’re back home in Fairview. I’m quite certain no one is going to beat on our door in the wee hours.

Happy Trails, Part 112: Back to the beginning

Not quite 47 years ago, my wife and I recited our sacred marriage vow — in the quickest 22-minute ceremony of my life — spent a glorious honeymoon in the Cascade Range of Central Oregon and returned to start our life in a two-bedroom apartment in southeast Portland.

Our monthly rent in 1971 was — get a load of this — $135.

Many years later — after owning four homes in Oregon and in Texas — we have returned to our “roots,” more or less.

We have decided to return to apartment living.

I must stipulate the obvious. Our rent today is nowhere close to what we paid when we began our life together. You don’t need to know what we’re paying these days; just know that it is many times more than what we paid back in the day.

We are thrilled with this turn our life has taken.

After we sold our Amarillo house we decided quickly to forgo the search for a new house to buy, to take on another mortgage that we likely wouldn’t be able to outlive, to be saddled with house repairs as they occurred.

We decided to rent. Yes, our intent was to “downsize” significantly from the house we owned in Amarillo. We did unload many of our possessions, but not enough of them. We have managed to stuff our remaining belongings into this apartment in Fairview, although it doesn’t look as though it’s stuffed.

Fairview is a lovely community tucked between Allen and McKinney in Collin County. The sign at the city limit says the population is around 7,200 residents, although I am absolutely certain it’s much larger than that today.

Our grand scheme goes something like this:

We’ll use the apartment as a jumping-off place for the travel we intend to pursue in our retirement years. We own a 28-foot fifth wheel that we hitch to the back of our pickup. It served as our home for several months while we prepared to sell our house and then put our dwelling on the market. Our fifth wheel served us well in that capacity.

Now it’s being returned to its original mission, as a recreational travel vehicle. We will use it frequently, weather permitting, as we hit the road across North America.

We already have returned to the Cascade Range. We’ve taken our RV to all three coasts and to the Great Lakes region. There’s plenty more to see and enjoy.

We will return home to our apartment, just as we did when we began this marvelous journey together. It’s been a great ride so far.

However, we aren’t nearly finished.

Happy Trails, Part 104: Half in, half out

I am at this moment in the midst of a curious emotional state.

My wife and I have taken up residence in Fairview, Texas, which is tucked neatly between Allen and McKinney, or just about a 30-minute drive north of Dallas.

It’s not entirely that simple. Nor have we completed the move entirely.

Our other “home” is our fifth wheel recreational vehicle, which at this moment is parked in an RV park in Amarillo, the city of our residence for the past 23 years.

We’re in. We’re out. We’re back and forth.

I tell friends in the Texas Panhandle that we have moved. I say so with absolute confidence and, to be candid, supreme pleasure. We had planned for years for the move; or, more to the point, we started planning the moment we learned that our granddaughter was on her way into this world. Our son and daughter-in-law live in Allen, so the deal was done when they told us of their pregnancy.

The RV has served as our home since October, when we vacated the house we built in December 1996. It’s our Panhandle home to this day. Our Fairview home is still a work in progress. You see, we are still trying to stuff many of the contents of our house into our new, and considerably smaller, dwelling in North Texas.

What’s more, we have decided where we’re going to store our RV when we’re no longer living in it. That transition will occur in about three weeks.

I have complete faith that we’ll succeed in this endeavor. The new place will be comfortable. We are looking forward to calling it our full-time residence. At this time, though, we remain tied to our former community as well as to the current one.

Family matters will keep us attached to Amarillo for the foreseeable future. Eventually, we intend fully to make the turn toward Fairview.

I guess you could call this the “long goodbye.”

Happy Trails, Part 103

A word to the wise if you’re intending to “downsize” while you ponder moving from one dwelling to another: Make damn sure to commit to it and be sure you get rid of everything you don’t want/need before you make the move.

We are settling in to our new digs in Fairview. My wife — the boss of this operation — has discovered that “We didn’t downsize nearly enough.”

The house we sold is roughly twice the size of the “luxury apartment” we now call “home.” We sought to rid ourselves of much of the major items we had accumulated over many years of marriage; it’s 46 years, in case you’re interested. Yes, over time any normal couple can collect a lot of, um, things. We are pretty normal, so there you have it.

We didn’t do all we needed to do to get ready for this big step.

But there is light out there. It’s in the distance. I can see it shining a bit more brightly today than I could just a day or two ago.

My bride is hard at work finding places for most of the items we brought with us. I found the nearest Salvation Army site; it’s just up the road in McKinney. We now plan to become the Army’s next major deliverer of unwanted, unneeded goods. We have a lot of them!

Yes, this retirement journey on which we set forth a few years ago has been relatively hassle-free. It remains so even as we unpack items and store them in our new digs.

Wish us well, please.

Happy Trails, Part 102

FAIRVIEW, Texas — We have done it. Our task is far from complete, but we have executed successfully the next major phase of our retirement strategy.

We have relocated — although not yet completely — to Collin County, just a bit north Dallas, within a short drive to our granddaughter’s house.

Don’t break out the bubbly just yet. We have some work to do.

You’ve heard the saying about trying to shovel “10 pounds of stuff into a five-pound bag.” C’mon, you’ve heard it, except that the version we’ve said uses a profane noun in place of “stuff.”

That is the task facing my wife and me.

We vacated our southwest Amarillo house this past fall. We moved into our fifth wheel recreational vehicle; where until yesterday morning we were living full time. We’re not living full time in the RV any longer. Actually we aren’t yet living full time anywhere at the moment. We’re still in a state of transition, shuttling back forth: RV to new digs; back to the RV; back to the new digs. This will go on for a little while as we sort through some family matters as well as look for a place to store our RV when we’re not hauling it hither and yon across our vast continent.

I’m generally a glass-is-half-full kind of guy. Here’s how I look at this move we’ve just made. Yes, we moved from a house into an apartment; the apartment comprises roughly half the square footage of our house, but the apartment is about three times more spaceious than our RV.

Thus, I will fixate on the latter comparison as my wife and I try to figure out where to put all these possessions the mover delivered bright and early today.

Here’s a final word to the wise: If you’re going to downsize, be sure you commit to doing it thoroughly.  My bride and I are kicking ourselves that we didn’t sell more than we did when we prepared to move out of our house.

Blogger’s Note: I won’t be providing a Fairview dateline on future blog posts from our new home base. It will be evident where we’re located when I comment on local happenings and issues. I just need to get up to speed … in due course.

Happy Trails, Part 100

So many questions get tossed at us as we prepare for this next big phase in our life together.

We have let it be known that we intend to rent our next dwelling. We sold our house and then decided that we no longer want to be saddled with the responsibility of home ownership: no more yard care, no more home repairs, no more property taxes.

We are moving soon into a “luxury apartment” just north of Allen, Texas.

The question associated with this move? Are you going to move into one of those 55-and-older “retirement” communities?

My answer? Hah! You’ve got to be kidding! I might be an old man, but I don’t feel like one and I don’t want to hang around a bunch of old folks.

Yes, we looked at some of those “retirement communities” on our search for new digs in North Texas. We opted out of them. I was a bit turned off by the pitch from property managers that extolled all the “activities” available to residents: tours, shopping, shuffleboard. They pick up residents up and ferry them around to do things as a group.

Umm. No thanks.

We decided instead on a place that provides us easy access to entertainment, shopping and dining — that we can enjoy on our own time! What’s more, it’s only about 30 minutes from Dallas, 45 minutes from Fort Worth, and even closer to outdoor activities where we can haul our fifth wheel RV for a weekend outing.

Our retirement journey has taken us to this critical juncture in our life. We are preparing to vacate the “home” we’ve known for the past 23 years. We intend to forge new friendships, familiarize ourselves with new surroundings.

However, our retirement will not slow us down for a moment from our intention to travel throughout North America. We’ve seen a lot of it already, but there’s a lot more of it to enjoy.

Oh, yes. We also have a precious, adorable and beautiful granddaughter with whom we intend to share this new life.

Happy Trails, Part 96

Fairview, Texas … here we come!

I’ve grappled for the past couple of days trying to decide how to make this announcement. I just did.

My wife and I — along with Toby the Puppy — are heading southeast in very short order to a little town tucked neatly between two larger communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Fairview sits between Allen and McKinney, two fast-growing suburban communities just north of Dallas. Our new dwelling is close to lots of commercial activity; entertainment is nearby.

Most importantly, it’s about a 10- to 15-minute drive from where our granddaughter lives in Allen with her parents.

This moment arrived quite unexpectedly. We didn’t anticipate making this decision so rapidly.

We spent a couple of weeks on the road hauling our fifth wheel through the South Plains, the Hill Country, the Golden Triangle, the Piney Woods and then to the Metroplex. We looked at some dwellings.

Then we made a decision. We like that one!

And that happens to be what one might call a “luxury apartment.” We notified the manager of our interest. We said we preferred a ground floor dwelling. Then one became available. We called from our current base in Amarillo. We submitted an application. We got approved. We settled on a move-in date. We notified the mover who has the bulk of our possessions in storage.

We are, as they say, good to go.

Our move won’t result in a complete severance from Amarillo for the time being. We’re going to shuttle back and forth regularly between Fairview and Amarillo while we tie up a loose end or two.

As I have shared the various stages of this retirement journey on High Plains Blogger, I have grown anxious about when I could make this declaration.

I am no longer anxious. I have just made it.

Our next big — and probably final — huge challenge is now at hand.

We are happy beyond measure.

Happy Trails, Part 95

The three of us — my wife, Toby the Puppy and yours truly — are enjoying one of the peculiarly fascinating aspects of retirement as my wife and I have defined it.

We have moved to the the third RV park in Amarillo since we vacated our former home in October 2017.

Our two-week sojourn downstate was yet another glorious trek through Texas, where we saw family and friends — and, oh yes, resolved a mechanical difficulty at the front end of that trip.

Then we returned to Amarillo. We moved from one end of the sprawling to the extreme other end. From east to west.

We intend to stay at our current location for a month, maybe two. After that? Well, I’m not entirely sure.

We also located a place in North Texas where we would like to resettle. I’ll have more on that at the appropriate time.

For now, I am delighted to share with you that this mobility mode — hauling our current home to a new site — is all that it’s cracked up to be. One of the joys of this retirement journey so far has been to tell those who ask that our “home” is attached to the hitch in the bed of our pickup.

That keeps us mobile, nimble, ready for whatever else awaits.

Happy Trails, Part 94: Home is where you park it

It’s not often at all that I adopt a bumper sticker slogan as a mantra for living.

But I have done that very thing. We now live according a slogan we saw on an RV: Home is where you park it.

We just returned from a two-week sojourn — all in Texas — through the South Plains, the Hill Country, the Piney Woods, the Golden Triangle and the Metroplex.

Along the way, I adopted a new manner of referring to “home.” You see, now that my wife and I are no longer tethered to property attached to the ground, we now refer to our fifth wheel as home.

So, instead of saying I’m “going home,” I find myself referring to some geographical location. Home is attached to the back of our pickup, or it’s anchored to an RV campsite temporarily — until we head for the next place.

Our return to Amarillo reminded us of one of the “charms” of living on the High Plains of Texas.

It’s the wind, man!

Holy moly, it was howling when we departed in early April. It was howling today when we pulled into our RV park/temporary residence. We had read about the wildfires that scorched lots of ranch land; this afternoon, we saw evidence of them along U.S. 287 just west of Clarendon, where we understand the fire caused closure of the highway for several hours while heroic firefighters battled the blaze.

This arrangement — an RV serving as our “home” — won’t last forever. I don’t want to give away too much, but we might have located a precise location to resettle once we depart Amarillo on a (more or less) permanent basis. I’ll have more on that later.

In the meantime, our life now is a reflection of a slogan made popular by other RVers.

It’s cool.

Happy Trails, Part 93

MELISSA, Texas — This likely won’t come as a huge flash to most of you, but I’ll offer it anyway.

My wife and I are spending a couple of nights at an RV park just down the highway from our granddaughter and her parents. We’ve been on the road for a couple of weeks.

I am torn by the notion that I cannot take my mind off of what is happening in Amarillo, where we are current headquartered.

The wind has kicked up on the High Plains yet again. It has ignited fires all across that sprawling landscape. I heard on the news this morning that Fritch, Texas, about 50 miles north of Amarillo, was evacuated because of the deadly threat posed by wildfire.

It occurs to me that it is going to take a great deal of time for me to put Amarillo in the distant past. We intend to move soon to North Texas. We have inched a bit closer to making a decision where we might move and on what terms we will relocate.

However, my mind is occupied as well by what is happening in the community we called home for 23 years.

It’s not a surprise.

Our life together took a dramatic turn in the spring of 1984 when we relocated from Portland, Ore., my hometown, to the Texas Gulf Coast. We picked up, packed up and moved our young sons to another culture. We didn’t leave Portland behind, either. Then we departed Beaumont for the Texas Panhandle in January 1995. Beaumont has stayed in our hearts and minds ever since … along with Portland.

Now we’re set to move on from Amarillo. We’ll settle in another community. Yet the misery that frightens our neighbors in Amarillo gnaws at us from afar.

We’ll be returning to Amarillo in the next couple of days. We’ll hang loose there for a time before shoving off yet again. I cannot project precisely where we’ll end up. I can, though, predict that Amarillo be on my mind — more than likely for as long as I draw breath.

A lot of good things are happening there these days. Downtown revival is under way. The state is rebuilding huge chunks of Interstates 40 and 27 in Amarillo as well as the southern loop. The city is repairing and renovating streets.

And, oh yes, those damn fires keep threatening people and property. These are our friends and neighbors.

I cannot possibly forget about the danger they face.