Never Forget the Ice

via Daily Prompt: Opaque

Pondering this daily prompt, what could I possibly say about the word, opaque?  Cluelessly staring at my computer screen then looking to my left, oh there is it… One of my favorite luxuries in the world, Ice.  Oh, how I love ice.  I love the way it slightly freezes my favorite drinks.  Just barely melted, it starts to break down… exposing the tiniest of air pockets.  I savior every big gulp of cold liquid as it rushes down my throat cooling my belly on a hot summers day.  Nothing could be finer and more satisfying than that beautiful chunk of frozen, opaque, water chunks waiting to nourish my whole being.  Yes, I chew on the little buggers, it’s my fat-free snack.  It keeps me from snacking on more sinful treats.  I’ve gotta watch my weight, ya know.  Will I ever give up the chunky goodness?  Probably not.  I always have a beverage at my side and I “never forget the ice”.


Best Friends Make Everything Better

We made it up the highway around fifteen miles to our next destination, to best friend Bob’s house…

After the home sold we made a mad dash to load up our belonging into the motorhome and be on our way.  Our first stop wasn’t far.  Packed to the gills, camper squatting like an s.o.b., we made it up the highway around fifteen miles to our next destination, to best friend Bob’s house.  Bob has been a close friend of my husband for years, way back to the high school days.  The carefree days of immense trouble making.  Like I said, a really close friend.

Bob offered his driveway for us to park Dotty and get our bearings straight.  We needed time to adjust to the new accommodations, check out all thing mechanical and throw more stuff way.

First on the list was shore power.  It works like a champ.  We plan to purchase a small microwave to use when power is available.  Our hope is to install a couple of solar panels to use on such occasion when we are boondocking.  Next issue is the classic refrigerator.  It’s in great shape but doesn’t run and if it did it would be a power-hungry whore.  Think we will be removing it and purchasing a 12 volt to put in its place.  We’ll also have more space for dry good storage above it.  There is plenty of projects to keep us busy for the next couple of weeks.  The more we assimilate to camper living the more we will be ready to head out down the highway when the time comes.

And as always, thank you, Bob, for letting us intrude in your living space.  We will always be grateful for your help.

‘Dotty’ is her name.

The seller of our motor home had his own camping story to tell.

What’s in a name?  We all name thing we love, care about or has meaning for us.  It brings a connection or commitment to the object we name.  I have always had a fascination with naming things.  If I like it, it gets a nick-name, a personality.  Same goes for vehicles, the motor home had a name before we left the sellers home.

The seller of our motorhome had his own camping story to tell.  He purchased the motorhome with the idea that he and his wife would become full-time rv’ers.  He spent many hours refurbishing the camper to get it road ready.  During this time, his wife became ill and passed away.  They never were able to fulfill their dream.  His wife’s name was Dorothy.  Dotty seemed an appropriate name, it suits her, I will never forget the story behind their dream and fulfilling our own.

The Great Camper Hunt

It was another cold and rainy day in Southern Michigan, pressed for time and home sold, we needed to find a motorhome quickly.   Hours and weeks were spent looking on-line looking across the state for the perfect, or nearly perfect, camper.  With a few dollars in our pocket, the pick’ns were slim.  There was plenty of motorhomes to choose from if you wanted to take out a mortgage and drive a bus around the country.  That wasn’t our idea of downsizing.  We needed something dependable and cheap.  No leaks, mold and a solid motor, something we could work on and repair without breaking the bank.

We left early in the morning and headed about two hours north in the cold windy rain to view our first potential option.  The GPS took us down wet, pothole-filled roads to look at the first possibility.  We found this gem on Craigslist, pictures looked good, description gave us hope…until.

Pulling into the rutted driveway we knew this was a no go, a rust bucket from hell.  A lot of front end rust and crooked camper shell gave it away.  We knew this one had a lot of problems.  We didn’t need to drive it, though we did, to know it should have been in the junkyard.  We politely declined the sale and went on our merry way.

Rather disappointed, we started our way back home, then the light bulb came on!  Call it a coincidence, however, I don’t believe in coincidences, pulling into a local grocery store, my husband checked Craigslist one last time.  Sha-zam…there she was, a half an hour away.  This was a must see.  A quick phone call and off we went to check another possibility.

I have to say the drive was better, paved roads and all.  The first impression was very hopeful.  This motor home was taken care of.  No rust to be seen, no sagging, brand new tires, refurbished motor and only 45,000 miles.  She was clean.  We spent approximately an hour or so with the owner, going over the many details of this 1975 Cruise Air.  He was obviously proud of the renovations he had done.  The inside was “sweet”.  All wood cabinet, reupholstered benches and cab interior.  The only damage we could find was minor roof leaks that had been repaired.  We needed a test drive.

Down the street, around the block and a smile on his face, I knew we had just bought a motor home.  This vehicle would be just what was needed to get us down the road.  A little more time spent with the owner talking about what was repaired, replaced and needed work, money was exchanged and title in hand, she was on her maiden voyage back home.

Forty to fifty mile an hour winds didn’t make for easy driving.  It was a test, her first test, and she did great.  Suspension needs work and carburetor needs tweaking but all in all it went very well.  We made it home with no incidents and very pleased with our purchase.  I hope she serves us well during our travels, we shall see.

Saying Goodbye to Big Jane

I remember many evening discussions with my husband contemplating selling our 1996 Ford 250 4×4.  Did we really need her?  She was a beast of a truck, 7.5 liters 460 engine.  Need I say terrible gas mileage but could pull a house down.  She could haul anything.  We bought her when we were living in Northern Michigan, out in the sticks.  Hauling wood was a necessity, two cords of wood at a time, no problem.  Collecting water at the local spring, no issues. Plowing through the snow in four-wheel drive, easy squeezy.  I loved her.  She was my truck. She was dependable and safe, just a gas hog.

After deciding to go back on the road in camper style, I knew we couldn’t keep her.  Oh, she could pull the biggest camper we could afford, but she would run us broke keeping her in fuel.   We had to look for a motorhome that would do the job.

When we decided to put her up for sale, we really didn’t try very hard, a couple of adds here and there on Facebook was about it.  We never even put a ‘For Sale’ sign in the window.  She sold none the less.

I don’t believe in coincidences, I have always believed events happen for a reason.  Selling of Big Jane was one of those events.  The day she was sold, my husband and I decided to try to sell an antique dresser at a local dealer.  The dresser sold and the delivery man can and picked it up.  He was a nice, young fella who wanted to know our story so we told him the plan.  Big Jane came up in the conversation and “Bingo” he had a friend who he knew would be interested in the truck.  Later that evening he came back with his friend and sealed the deal.  Not much effort on our part, just honest conversation and a positive outlook on our plan.

It was hard seeing her being driven away but I knew she was in good hands. A new owner who had great plans for her.  Thanks Tony for the sale and hope you have many good years and memories from our, “Big Jane”.

How to Downsize from a House to a Camper, Family and Friends Give a Way…Part Two.

This past week was a busy one.  Our home is quickly being emptied.  Items we wanted to sell were posted on local Craigslist and Facebook groups.  Most items sold but we still have a fish stand that needs to go.  I also had the idea to peddle my goods at a few local antique shops/resell shops.  This worked well, as we had pictures on the phone that helped seal the deal.  We also were able to sell the Ford pickup, “Big Jane”, to a friend of the young fellow that picked up the furniture that we sold.  It was networking at it’s finest.

We contacted friends and family who we knew may want various items.  We wanted to give a good home to items we have collected over the past two years.  Oh, and did we collect stuff. We also discussed leaving items that may be useful to the new owners of this home.  A young couple with a baby.  They were grateful for whatever we donated, furniture, tools, etc.

It’s looking like we are getting closer to our goal.  Rather scary but exhilarating at the same time.  Next step, closing on the house, locating a Motor Home and can’t forget to sell the Sterling.  We have also secured a place to lay our heads and park the camper as we work on it.  It’s great to have such giving friends.  You all are so much appreciated, words can not describe.

How to Down size from a house to Camper, Part One

How often do we really take a good look at the “stuff” we’ve accumulated in our homes? Most of us probably go day-to-day ignoring the stuff in our homes.  Overfilled cabinets, drawers, and closets.  Not until we are faced with downsizing are we really aware of what we own and collected over the years.

Wandering through the house, I wonder what am I going to do with all this stuff?  A better description would be, “Where did all this crap come from?”.   In my last post, I described my husband and I as over the road truck drivers.  Living in an 8×8 sleeper, we seriously downsized and rented a storage unit for the items we couldn’t live without.  Not this time, there will be no added expense of paid storage.  We had better leave our emotions out of it and dump, sell or donate what we can.

It was hard at first, staring at the walls, furniture, nick nacks, I knew they had to go.  We started slowly, very slowly.  My first step was clothing.  It seemed emotionally the easiest to handle. We bought a big box of yard trash bags and went to work.  Most of the clothes were in good shape, needless to say, if I didn’t wear and wash it at least once a week, it was donated.  Same goes with shoes, purses, belts and don’t forget all the numerous winter garb stashed in the front closet.

We agreed to clean and weed out something, a room or a closet, every day.  Small steps made it easier to let stuff go. If we couldn’t weed the rooms we took trips to the local donation center or the dump.  After a few of these trips, it became easier.  The weight on my heart and shoulders lightened.  I could see progress.  I didn’t need all this stuff.  By the way, “where did all this crap come from?”  We now have a chance to live lightly, more freely without filling our lives with stuff that really, in the end, doesn’t make us happier, only more cluttered in mind and spirit.

I won’t kid you and tell you this process was hunky dory and I had some grand epiphany. Each time we touched an item it took a lot of consideration and retrospection.  The family items were the worst.  But when it comes down to it, the kids really don’t want this “crap” you saved from their school years.  It’s just more stuff to take up space in their lives.

At this point on our timeline, we are still weeding rooms and taking trips to the dump.  I do know this though, every time I look up any item online or handle some new shiny toy in a retail store, my question will be, “will this end up in someone’s donation bin or laying in a buried heap in a landfill?” The answer will most likely be,” yes”.