Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy to be in the Midwest

After seeing some of the fabulous eastern states, and it's not even the fall season yet, to come back to Indiana and say I'm happy to be here, might be a puzzle for some who have traveled the country a great deal. I'm happy because I get to visit Fremont and Angola, IN, where we have our storage shed, and where my teaching job was, and where two months of mail is, and I'm going to unload a BOATLOAD of shoes, clothes, and miscellaneous STUFF that I thought we absolutely had to have on board the RV, which has proven to be not necessary at all...did I say shoes?

When we first started out full timing, and closed out two houses, I have to say Eldy was the one very willing to let go of personal possessions, either giving them away to his children, or out to the dumpster. Me, on the other hand, with the smaller house, for some reason had much more difficulty letting go of crafts, clothing, personal articles, etc., so I had to have them in storage to feel comfortable going out on the road full time. I figure if I don't miss it after a year in storage, or remember that it's in there, then more is going to Goodwill or another charity or somewhere else! Then, after storing a lot of crafts, a few pieces of furniture, and  other household items, I tried to get on board the RV what was left, thinking small projects when it came to fabric, needlework, sewing machine, things that would keep me busy in retirement as well as sightseeing and traveling. (I had a lot of hobbies!) That was a tough one for me. I sewed, I quilted, I scrapbooked with tons of supplies and fabric at home. I did all kinds of crafts and my interests rotated as I did them. I had to rethink what I could take with me!  The good thing right now is we think we are not at our full capacity as far as cargo goes (we've weighed ourselves once), so we're doing ok in that department. Every RV has a gross vehicle weight of what you shouldn't go over if you are fullly loaded, with people, "stuff", water, propane, etc.,  and ours is 22,000 pounds. Sounds like a lot, but it really isn't! We haven't checked our weight lately, (gee, the coach might have to go on a diet!) but that's important since we are now full timing and have added more household things. Our storage bins are not completely full, so we are waiting to get to Elkhart as they will have scales and we can check our weight then. I'm waiting to see if I can add more STUFF! (just kidding, hon..I'm really gonna get rid of lots of shoes, and other things) LADIES--PAY ATTENTION! You don't need a lot of clothes, dresses, shoes, or jewelry when you go out on the road,nor do you need all those kitchen gadgets!..Guys, you don't need a lot of shirts and pants or tools....space is a premium, it really is with an entry level RV, so less is more!

To prepare for this journey, you need to know that Eldy has been looking at RVs for over six years before he ever got close to buying one. He's been reading RV blogs and those blogs that talk about going full timing for about the same number of years. When I met him, he was very well prepared to go looking for an RV, knowing all the makes and models, who was still in business, who supports their buyers with customer service and who didn't. Then, after we met each other and determined that we were ready to buy an RV together, he continued his research, and then I got on board with outfitting the inside of the RV once we purchased the 39 ft. Damon Challenger (Platinum edition). First we went camping every weekend as we were both still working. We did that for a year. We worked the bugs out, we learned about our RV, the sounds it makes, how to fix small things, how things work, and we had a few things go wrong that the company had to fix. We read all the magazines that pertain to motor homes--Highways, Motor Home magazine, etc. Then we got serious about making the RV our full time home as things fell into place for both of us to retire. Every chance we got before we started full timing, we'd head out to a Camping World store. We were Camping World junkies! We'd go thru RV catalogs while we were camping, that was our reading material, trying to figure out what devices and gadgets we needed, and Eldy read many, many blogs about full timing to see what things we needed....satellite vs. dish, (neither, we use cable when it's available and antenna when it's not), water regulator vs. not having one (jury still out on that one, but we're probably going to get one soon), the right color hoses for fresh water, gray water and back flushing the tanks, hose on a reel vs. hose that's not, brake assist system, (more on that another time)...and then we'd talk to other campers, gather, gather information...one of the best ways to get prepared to go full time on the road is to read, read, read blogs and columns, and get to know your particular RV very very well! Eldy let me be in charge of fitting the inside cabinets, storage areas and stocking the RV with linens and kitchen stuff because that's my domain (notice the territorial edge here?)...it took a few starts and tries to get things so they didn't fall out of cabinets, to get the right size baskets to fit odd shaped cabinet interiors, and to work at keeping the weight down...

Now that we've covered a lot of that, what happened today? I spent the morning on the phone working on getting health insurance for when my school health insurance putters out at the end of September. I was quoted a premium that ended up being almost 150.00 higher because I had a bad Achilles tendon that was a temporary condition and one other health issue to what I considered to be a normal, temporary issue in life, but Anthem did not. In a year, I can request a "risk assessment", and if I haven't seen the doctor for that particular condition, they MIGHT lower my premium. Geez, it makes you feel like you can't even  go to the doctor to take care of yourself!

bar inside Clementine's
inside lobby of Clementines
Laundry in the afternoon, and into town for a nice dinner at Clementine's Restaurant, a restaurant housed in an old bank building with a gorgeous interior..It has incredible woodwork inside, and great food at reasonable prices.The bar area is beautiful--the large ornately carved wooden bar came from a ship that used to run the Great Lakes. The man who started this restaurant in the 1980's is from Auburn, IN, a fellow Hoosier! Tomorrow, we drive to Elkhart, IN, about a two hour drive or less, to settle in for a week at the Elkhart Campground. No handy bike trails, no hiking trails close by, this is a city campground, so we'll have to get creative on our exercise!

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