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Thursday, October 16, 2014

October on the road… family & friends :)

Hello everyone… hope each of you is enjoying fall!

After a couple of really busy weeks, we are about to disappear into the mountains near Creede, Colorado for some fishing, relaxing and taking in the beauty of some favorite places!  Probably no cell service or internet for awhile… on to Bayfield, CO around the 21st.

This blog post is full of photos of family and friends that many of you will not know.  For family and friends of those in the photos that do know these fine folks, we hope that you will enjoy seeing the photos and hearing about our visits during this special time. To those we did not get a chance to see… next time :)

Once we left the campground, our first visit was with Kayla & Weston in Cheyenne.  We arrived the day they signed papers to purchase their first house!  They arranged for the realtor to let us see it… what fun!  They will be able to move in at the end of this month!  We had great visits while there with them!!! Congrats, kids!
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Next stop was to visit Joan, Chuck, Sharla & Dwight in Rexford, KS.  We enjoyed meals together and visits.  Enjoyed seeing the remodel progress on Sharla & Dwight’s home... very nice!  Thanks for the good food and great visits, each of you!  Good times together!
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In Pueblo, we were able to meet up with Steve & Sylvia… it had been some 30 years since Tom had seen them.  We always feel like we “know” them thru Marjie, so it was great to connect!  They drove up from La Veta to shop, and we had coffee and a visit in our rig in a Sam’s parking lot… very nice!  And, we look forward to getting together at their ranch one of these days!!!  Also, we enjoyed beautiful fall colors on La Veta pass!
2014.10.07 Steve & Sylvia Hanson 20141011_140338

We had a great visit with Marjie and Chuck, and here is a shot of them being silly while looking at a historical map with Tom.  Always a good time together!!!

We met Doug, Darneil and Neva for breakfast and a good catch-up visit one morning!  You REALLY don’t want to stick your tongue out, Doug, when I’m snapping pictures!

One day we took a ride with Bunny & Ken to visit their ranch in La Veta… what a beautiful property!  Being together was just like old times after all our years of friendship and raising kids… the human kind and the goat kids!  Thanks for such a nice day, and we look forward to hearing about the progress of your projects!!!
20141011_140231 Bunny & Ken

While in Alamosa, we parked in Marilyn & Braxton’s yard and enjoyed the great views and convenient location!  Had good visits with them and so appreciate the hospitality!  Here they are all dressed up heading to church, plus a photo of Braxton and Tom working on a tractor project.
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Also, enjoyed a wonderful catch-up visit with longtime-friend, Carol Ann.  As always, a good visit with her!!!  Thanks, Carol Ann! 

Rain cancelled our picnic-in-the-park plans with Kate, Ryan, Lucy and Obie one day, so they came to our rig for lunch instead… good family times together, and such adorable grandchildren!!! In January, Lucy will turn four and Obie will be two. A busy household, to say the least, and we are grateful for the times we spent together!  Wonderful family… good job, Kate & Ryan!!! In the last photo, the kids were examining Grampa’s prosthesis and trying to understand that strangeness :)
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Our final visit in the beautiful San Luis Valley was with Margaret & Tyler… we parked at their ranch for a couple of days. We missed Jordyn, since she is away at college, but it was fun to be Morgan’s “practice client” for a pedicure and manicure in her cosmetology class!  We enjoyed good meals and visits with all three of them, plus taking in the horses, gardens, great views and a peaceful setting! Thank you, friends!!!
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With appreciation to you ALL for the wonderful visits and special times reconnecting!!!  Now, off to the mountains!

Be well, everyone!!!  Hugs, Dianne & Tom

“The mountains are calling, and we must go!”

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Celebrating Two Years of Retirement!

Today is October 1st, 2014, and it is with much joy and appreciation of our good fortune that we celebrate two years of retirement and fulltime RV living!!!!!

We are excited to be on the road again!  After last night along the way at a convenient truck stop, our first stop is with our daughter and son-in-law in Cheyenne, WY… TODAY, this  very afternoon!  It’s been way too long since we last saw them!

As we are looking forward, we would like to take this opportunity to look back and reflect.  In advance of closing the campground, we have been preparing this blog post to review and share some of our thoughts with those of you that have been traveling along with us.  What a fun adventure with so many blessings!  And, goodness, have we learned a lot on this journey!

Like most folks, during our working years we took yearly vacations and extended weekend trips.  Getting away for trips and vacations was always fun and rejuvenating.  Also, quite a lot different from our life now, “living” in a RV during retirement.

Thought it might be fun to look back at some photos of our “rigs” as we traveled this RV journey…

After years of tent camping, we bought our first travel trailer from friends in the spring of 2004, a 21-foot Trail Lite that we pulled with our 1/2-ton Chevy Silverado.  I don’t remember what year it was, but made the dinette into a bed each night.   We enjoyed the conveniences out of the weather!
8.05 Dome Lake 8.05 Dianne, Nell, Tom at trailer
Next, in August of 2005, came a 1998 Mobile Scout travel trailer and a 1997 Ford F250, 3/4-ton pickup… a package deal.  The trailer had a bed we didn’t have to make up at night, plus a sofa… we’d hit the big time!  That pickup was traded to my dad for his 2000 Ford F350, one-ton dually… sure pulled the trailer great!
10.05 Rockhound Campsite  2006.08.06
In July of 2007, we traded in the 24-foot travel trailer for a 32-foot K-Z Sportsman travel trailer with one slideout… the added space was luxury!  We lived in this rig in the beginning of our “fulltime” life for six months at Bitter Lake Refuge in Roswell, New Mexico, while Tom finished out his employment… then, upon retirement in October 2012, we hit the road!  Tom drove the truck and pulled the trailer, and I followed along in our Chevy Trailblazer.  We were off to a great start!!!g 010

In January of 2013, while enjoying our first Quartzsite experience, things got wild… we had no intentions of making a change, but… our Escapees friends know what happened then and will recall the day we took the motorhome test drive and brought the salesman out to our little compound to look at the truck and trailer… about a dozen RVers “inspected” the motorhome and we got lots of good advice!   Yep, we traded in the truck and trailer and bought that motorhome!  A 2004, gently-used 37-foot Newmar Mountain Aire with two slides!  Never, ever thought we would be motorhome people.  Spent a week on the rv lot moving from the old home to the new.  Two months later, we had the tow package installed, and I finally got to ride in the motorhome and sit in the passenger seat as we pulled the Trailblazer.  We love our home… comfort and great “backyards” in our various locations, and have never once regretted this move to the motorhome or our fulltime RV lifestyle!!! 
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We have had lots of experiences and adventures, and met up with many wonderful people along the way.  The anxiety of our early days on the road… wondering where to dump our tanks or get water, getting fuel, not knowing our way in a new area, is no longer a concern/worry… we find our way!  We have learned so much from fellow RVers who generously shared and passed on what they had learned along the way.  And, we have learned so much about our preferences and capabilities. 

We love to boondock!  Parking in remote locations… without water, electricity or sewer rather than rv parks and busy campgrounds, provides the most amazing views and peaceful settings!  The addition of a couple of solar panels was a big plus, making our boondocking experiences even more convenient and allowing us to stay “out” for longer periods of time!

No reservations… a double meaning, to be sure.  We  have no reservations about this fulltime rv lifestyle we have chosen, but also, seldom do we make reservations anywhere.  We find having a specific timetable when on the road to be rather restricting, especially when you stumble upon a great spot or wish to make a detour. Sure wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity because of a reservation up ahead.  There are an abundance of locations to stay, particularly for just a night along a route. With the internet and the many resources for overnight stops, especially when dry camping, finding a place to stop for a night seems no problem. Then, in those special boondocking spots, we set up and stay until it seems like time to go again.

Eating well… we seldom eat in restaurants, but certainly enjoy those times when we meet with friends for a meal.  We seek out farmers markets, produce stands and grocery stores that offer fresh, healthy choices as often as possible.  Eating “real food” is more a priority to us as time goes by, believing that we do have some control over our health with our food choices… that we can, at the very least, contribute towards continuing good health.  Here’s hoping!

The spreadsheet… those of you that know my work background in accounting/business, will understand that I love data and recordkeeping.  I track everything we spend in categories, as do many of you out there.  I probably take it to the extreme, but when Tom asks what we spent on fuel or pet food in a particular month/year, I am happy to report the info.  And, we always enjoy the end of a month when I can report we spent LESS in a month than in others past.  Also, it is fun to look at the spreadsheet comparing nights spent boondocking vs.  campgrounds/rv parks with services.

Now, in contrast to what I just wrote above about being alone and not having hookups, it’s been a good summer in Wyoming… we have enjoyed great visits with friends, and we thank each of you who visited us at Warren Bridge Campground!  We had not intended to take a job or to be “work campers” in retirement, but when this opportunity came along it seemed “just right.”  We have enjoyed our “job” as campground hosts and look forward to returning next summer.  And, while there this summer, with no housing expenses, we have been able to save and pay for new tires and a tire monitoring system on our motorhome, new tires on the Trailblazer, and MCD shades in our motorhome.  Mission accomplished!

So, now we are most excited to be traveling again as we head out to visit our kids and grandkids, plus friends and family along the way.  We must push a bit to get in these visits, particularly those in Southern Colorado, before the snow flies.  Looking forward to time with each of you along this route in October! 

What lies ahead… we will be in Utah for the annual Moab Folk Festival in early November.  Love Moab, and love this festival! 

The last two weeks of November will find us visiting family and friends in Southern California.  Looking forward to our visits with you folks there!

Then, through-out the winter we have just a couple of specific events/locations in mind… our Escapees gathering in Quartzsite toward the end of January, and the gem & mineral shows in Tucson the first part of February.  Mostly, December thru March will find us with no specific agenda… in various locations of the desert southwest, boondocking as often as possible!  We look forward to crossing paths with many of you fellow RVers that will be in these same locations!  Fun to watch our “Class-less Class” map and see where people move their pins and where we might connect!

Wow!  This update is way too long, so thanks for indulging us!  Though I write it, Tom is right there along with me providing input, proofreading, etc.  To those of you who follow along with us via this blog, we wish to say that we SO appreciate your notes and comments… it means a great deal to us that we all stay connected! 

Wishing you joy… be well, everyone!  Dianne & Tom
 “When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace, love, prosperity, happiness... all the good things.”   ― Maya Angelou