Saturday, February 13, 2010

Strange Icicles...Our Front Yard...and Taking on Toyota.


We have received a LOT of emails from the post yesterday.  Thank you for taking the time to write!

First, Nanette says Thank You!

Also, we received some wonderful emails about the second half of the post regarding happiness.

There were so many uplifting stories and thoughts as well as some great suggestions as to how to avoid the things that would steal our happiness.

We do truly believe the move we made to go full-time was the best decision we could have ever made.  The opportunities that are presented to us each day reinforce our belief.

Then there is this...

While taking a walk this morning in the "brisk" 6 degree weather I noticed some icicles that showed how much wind we have had and for how long it has been blowing.

If you look at the pictures below you can see that the icicles are not hanging straight down but rather they are curved around the wood.

The wind has been blowing constantly here for a week carrying very cold temperatures with it!


   
I would really like to to get a close up picture of the icicles here but it is just too high to get to.

Below you will see some pictures of our "front yard".  

Our site is on the bank of the Kentucky River...the river is known for the Palisades along on both sides.

As we look to the front of our MH we are looking straight at these 200 foot high rock walls.

You can get a perspective based on the picnic table at the base of our front yard wall.  Also those little trees on top are anywhere from 30 to 50 feet tall.
  

The picnic table is at the bottom left.

I also noticed there are some rather large icicles up there too.  

Not sure I would want to be standing at the base of this when the temperature goes above freezing. 

 
Icicles best viewed from afar!

Now to the Toyota adventure...

It looks like I will get to see if I can get Toyota to cover a problem with our Highlander that was identified in 2007.  

It seems that the engine in our year Toyota Highlander has a known problem that causes sludge to build up in the engine and that causes the Valve Stem Seals to leak.

When the seals start leaking -- upon first starting it in the morning you get blue smoke for a few seconds.

Even though Toyota lost a Class Action Lawsuit over this in 2007 they have not been very accommodating in covering the repairs. 

There are many accounts of the dealers blaming the owners for lack of maintenance and refusing to cover the costs of repairs.

I guess I will see what happens when I report the problem. Sure would be easier if these type of things didn't happen. 

I was going to end this post at this point but just now looked up and out the window and saw an interesting sight.

As I looked out the window I noticed smoke rising into the air.

There is a gentleman at the other end of the campground that has a huge campfire going and there are 5 other people from around the campground standing around it talking.

So this is a little recalibration for me.  Who would think to start a campfire in February at 20 degrees?

Apparently people that do a lot of winter camping!  What a great idea!

I think I will find myself by that camp fire when he starts another one...I think that would really be fun!

And this just in...

I just received a Special Weather Alert.  It says it looks like we are to expect heavy snow Sunday through Tuesday.  An Alberta Clipper is headed this way -- and the snow amounts may be quite large.  They aren't making a projection just yet -- just telling everyone to get ready!

I like snow so this is kind of exciting actually.

I know -- there is one more member of the family to share -- and that would be me.

I will get to that soon -- as soon as we can find all those pictures of me that were thrown away!

Ken and Nanette

Friday, February 12, 2010

Some more family...and...The Silent Thief of Happiness...

Again, we must thank so many of you that have visited us and written!

And those "Followers" over there on the right well here is a little hint for you.

Over there are some of the best bloggers on the Internet -- don't believe me? -- click on their picture and in their profile find their blog...and then go to their blog!  You will see!

I thought I would share with you the brains and good looks of the family today!

I would like to introduce you to Nanette...

She is the one that keeps us all straight.

Well sort of straight -- her job is akin to herding monkeys at times.  The three of us boys are a creative bunch when it comes to keeping Nanette busy.

She is also "our face" on Facebook.  So to those that have connected with us that way -- you can check with her to get the "real" story of what is going on with us.

She loves the outdoors -- reading -- and animals -- horses in particular.

She is also one of the hardest working people I have ever met -- and everyone that meets her loves her -- including all of us!

Ready for another great adventure -- notice map in hand -- it didn't help!


This is her "modeling sunglasses"...and all the hair she has left after the "hair cutting episode" -- just kidding.


A few years ago while looking at the first RV we considered!

...and now how about some thoughts from someone in this lifestyle that is evaluating where we are and where we are going...and I am not talking about location?

I hope you don't mind waiting on the story of how the Outhouse Got Burned Down but I have something that has been on my mind and I would like to share it.

Now before I do -- I want you to know that this is me thinking out loud and talking to myself more than anyone else.

I am also VERY interested in your thoughts on what I write.

So we decided on this full timing lifestyle to be happier and to live our lives by purpose and not by circumstance.

Well...I was giving some thought yesterday to what happiness is...what it looks like for us...and what can steal it away.

The answers I got back were interesting to say the least and I would like to share some thoughts on this.

: hap·pi·ness
Pronunciation: \ˈha-pē-nəs\
Function: noun
Date: 15th century

1 a : a state of well-being and contentment : joy b : a pleasurable or satisfying experience

So that is the definition -- seems simple.

For us -- contentment is probably the word that captures it.

We seek contentment.

It appears to me that WE define what contentment is.

I also think we define what brings us contentment.

Where did we expect to find this contentment as we made the decision to join the full-time lifestyle?

Was it Things?  When we started moving toward the lifestyle, by our very actions, THINGS weren't it.  Heck almost all of our things went away. -- either to Goodwill (with those cool little carts), the auction, to friends or to Mount Trashmore.

So if we are basing our happiness on things -- we are in deep trouble!

Was it Places? We knew when we moved where we were going to be.

So if this place is it -- then we probably need to buy a travel book because we seem to have fallen way short on that one.

Was it Money?  Uh...lets just say...that if it was for money...we need some intense financial planning help...'cause that just ain't gonna happen!

So it must not have been for money.

Then where did we expect to find contentment?

Well within ourselves we think.

What we have found is that our priorities changed immediately.

It has become about the daily experience of living this full time lifestyle.

Living with each other -- experiencing things with each other -- laughing together -- learning together -- crying together -- and knowing that what we have in each other is the most important treasure we have.

It is within this that we believe our greatest happiness exists.

I believe that being happy or feeling contentment is NOT a passive activity.

I have no expectations of getting a knock on the door and opening it to find happiness standing there waiting to be invited in.  If it does happen -- I will ask for all your addresses and send it to you immediately!

When I say it is not a passive activity I mean that I think to find happiness I must set a goal each and everyday to find it and not to let "life" steal it from me.

To go looking for it -- in the simple things -- in that which surrounds me -- in the things I hear and see.  There is so much that presents itself each day to bring happiness -- but the question is -- am I seeing it -- experiencing it or simply letting it pass me by?

Now don't get me wrong -- there are trials and tribulations in life -- bad things happening to good people.  I am not suggesting we can put on rose colored glasses and all the bad things will just go away.

What I am suggesting is that if I never look for the moments that add to my contentment then I will never see them.

So -- what steals happiness?

In my opinion, the number one thing is...

Worry.

It has been stated by a great deal of research that as humans, we move toward that which is uppermost in our minds or thoughts.

Our present thoughts are determining our future in other words.

So lets just say that is true -- then isn't worrying (or thinking about what we don't want) potentially pulling us into the very thing we are trying to avoid?

Let me share an example of how I visualize this -- stay with me here.

When I was very young -- growing up in the house I showed you -- all the roads were gravel.

I learned to ride my bike on these roads.

Well there was a time when I was not too good yet at riding my bike.

One day I was riding on these roads and way up in front of me I noticed a big rock laying in the road.  I could see it clearly and coming up.

The last thing I wanted to do was hit it.

But I keep looking at it -- the danger that it was -- the thing I most wanted to avoid...and kept looking at it and looking at it as I came up on it.

Guess what I did...?

I hit the rock!

Why -- well perhaps because I was so focused on it with my eyes that by body followed.

So how could I have avoided it?

Well maybe by not looking straight at it and instead looking at how to get around it.

Ever seen a pothole in the road and didn't want to hit it but kept looking at it -- did the same thing happen?  Hmm...?

Is it possible that worrying could do the same thing -- pull us into the very thing we don't want?

What I am saying here is I think the less we can worry about all the things we dread and instead focus on where we want to end up then the more likely the answers and actions needed to overcome are likely to come. 

Some people I have met ruminate -- which is to run a matter over and over in their mind.

I have seen people do this to the extent that the only way they stopped was to wear themselves out emotionally to the extent that they were just too tired to run it over in their mind anymore.

So...perhaps when tough things come our way the key is to not focus on what we DON'T want but rather on what we DO want.  Then maybe -- just maybe our mind will start working on a solution we aren't seeing yet.

Worry -- the great silent thief of happiness?

So do you have any thoughts on happiness or worrying?

Ken

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Winter in an RV....and....Blogging and You...

We want to change gears with today's blog and share some thoughts about winter full-timing and about our experience blogging.

We are doing this based on a number of requests we received over the last few days -- so ask and you shall receive.

We will get back to the family introductions and pictures tomorrow -- and maybe even a little story.

I will answer first about how we are setup for winter full timing...

We are living in an RV full time in the winter -- we are located in Kentucky on the banks of the Kentucky River.  It has been a winter that has been very cold, windy, and snowy.  We have been in the teens and single digits on a number of days.

An example of what we face...

Last night the temperature plummeted and the wind howled while it snowed. 

When the wind started it hit our RV hard.  We had wind gusts here in the 40 mile per hour range. 

The RV took the wind well but we were rocking for sure. I was paying close attention as to if it was time to lift the jacks but it never reached that point.

We have skirting around our RV which makes a huge difference for us in terms of floor warmth and drafts.

We did lose a section of skirting last night.  Actually I am amazed it was such a small section considering the beating it was taking and I mean beating! By the way -- we have never found the skirting that blew off.

Our water line is heat taped and insulated all the way to the inlet of the motorhome which is contained in the basement.  There is no insulation on the sewer lines.  Gray water valve open -- black water valve stays closed.

The basement of our motorhome is heated which makes it much easier to manage any freeze-up issues that we might face.

We keep wireless temperature sensors positioned in the basement so that we can keep an eye on temperatures there.  The wireless receiver inside has alarms set to go off should the temperatures drop to a point that something needs to be done to prevent freezing. This makes it nice since we don't have to be looking at the monitor in order to know if we have a problem developing.

We use the shrinkable plastic on some of the windows to help with drafts and heating overall. The big culprit for us in heat loss on the windows are the weep holes which are open to the outside.  The plastic takes care of this problem by stropping the air but still allowing the weep  holes to perform their function.  Because of the way the plastic is applied it his almost unnoticeable on the windows as far as seeing out.

We have two furnaces -- one heating the front and middle and one heating the rear and middle.  The key here for us is the overlap of the heating zones.  In our case we could lose one furnace and still heat the entire motorhome with the other.

We also us two electric heaters.  We use the Lasko Ceramic Heaters one in front and one in the rear.  I should tell you that if we put both of these heaters on high -- the furnaces would not come on at all.  As it is now the rear furnace does not come on with both electric heaters on low and the front furnace runs very little.

We run off of a 125 Gallon Propane Tank and have a 40 gallon on board tank as well -- the way we are connected we can run off of either one should we have one of the two regulators freeze up for some reason.

So that takes care of the major setup we have for winter...

I want to say just a little bit about winter RVing in general.

With the temperatures that we have experienced here this winter -- losing heat is not an option.

To do so would put us in a very dangerous situation if we could not get into an alternate location due to ice or bad roads.  Not to mention the damage that would be done should we have water lines freeze and burst.

The thing I tell people, that have asked me for the one thing I would suggest over anything  else regarding winter RVing, is that you must expect and plan for the unexpected in winter regarding your RV systems -- be prepared for bad things to happen -- and have a plan of defense in depth by identifying any single point of failure and have a contingency plan in place should that failure occur. 

In terms of this discussion I define a single point of failure as something that if it fails there is no backup for and by the failure you lose something vital for survival.  The key is to identify these points and either eliminate them or have a backup plan in the event of failure. 

Another thing I suggest is to do a daily inspection of the outside and inside of your RV.  Look for the unexpected -- check the vital areas to make sure there is no evidence of a problem developing.  For instance -- your water lines -- check for leaks -- make sure heat tape is working -- look for anything unusual in the lines themselves -- just get used to how things SHOULD look and if they don't find out why.

Use your senses -- do visual inspections -- listen for anything that sounds different (maybe a furnace sound that you haven't heard before) take note of any smells that are different (like ozone or the smell of something hot) touch areas around the furnaces for any change in temperature when it is running -- if you use electric heaters -- touch the cords to see if they are getting hotter than they should -- may sure the heaters are clean and not getting full of dust and dirt blocking the heat from getting out of the heater. 

I will even go to where our power management systems are located -- I will open the cabinet and take note of any unusual smells then put my hand on the breaker panel face checking for any heat that shouldn't be there.

We exercise our generator on a regular basis.  We also run our engine on a regular basis and bring it up to temperature -- but don't stop here -- after it gets up to temperature check under the engine on the ground to make sure there are no leaks.

All of this may sound like a lot of work -- but in the winter -- things tend to fail when you need them the most. Cold weather does strange things to an RV that is really not designed to operate in these temperatures.

So I feel these regular checks will pay off in the log run and keep you aware of any potential trouble that may be developing before you lose a critical system.  Take care of your RV and it will take care of you.

I think getting to know your RV is very  important -- winter or summer -- get to know how things normally sound when running -- get to know what is normal -- when the abnormal shows up then you will know it.

I hope this answers the questions we have been asked...

Lets talk about blogging and what we have experienced...

We are very new to blogging -- we are learning as we go along.

It is kind of strange -- just throwing stuff out there not knowing if anyone will find any value in reading what we write.

Then there is what to write -- of all the things that can happen in a day -- what part do you write about?

There is also how to write -- what words to use -- what pictures to present?

Then there is you -- Who is coming in?  Why have they come in?  What are they looking for?  Can they identify with what you are writing?  Do they find the things that you write worthy of them coming back?

We have written before how much we appreciate those that have visited us here -- written us -- asked questions -- and offered encouragement.

These notes of appreciation are sincerely meant.  We look everyday as people come in and read through our ramblings and we feel honored.

There are so many great blogs and stories out there that we read on a regular basis and then we think about what we write and hope that we are offering a fraction of the value of all those great writers.

We have decided that all that we can do is be ourselves -- share what pops into our heads -- show the good and the not so good when it happens.  Basically share life as it happens -- and to recount from time to time -- what has happened in the past that had an impact on us.

I am sure it will evolve as time goes on -- but for now -- it is fun to share our adventures -- to continue the journey and we truly feel this blog is part of that journey.

A part that we never anticipated.


Ken and Nanette

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Two more of the Family...and...How to Rip A Truck Bumper Off In One Easy Step...

We would like to share with you two more family members.

Isaac is the athlete of the family -- if it can be climbed he will climb it -- if it runs he can catch it.

He is also quite the engineer -- able to build things that most would never think of.   He loves history and anything military.


Lounging around on a summer day -- Nothing like a boy and his dog!

  
Issac -- on the bank of the Kentucky River -- it wasn't always so cold here.

 
Issac and Christian in a rare moment of -- stillness!

 
Banjo -- Posing for the camera with his world famous profile shot!

 
Issac and Christian making the Great Snow Fort -- Taken at our campground a few weeks ago!
 
One of Christian I forgot to show yesterday -- This is his serious face -- or him wanting Dad to stop taking all these pictures -- he didn't care if  I just got a new camera! 

 
Banjo doing one of his favorite things -- riding in our boat!

So...how about a story?

I would like to share with you a story about how I learned from my dad how you can rip the bumper off of a truck in one easy step.  One easy step -- this step is to simply throw all logic out the window!

To do so I must show you this picture again.


 
The reason I must show it to you is for you to take a very close look at how this house (which I grew up in) is constructed.  You notice it is a log home.  The logs are quite large and very old.   What you can't see is how hard they are -- close to petrified in my opinion.

Now you can't see it but directly behind this house sat a building -- or a shed if you will.  It was approximately 20 feet by 20 feet in size and about 12 feet tall.

It was made exactly like the house we see here.  It was made at the same time of the house.

This building blocked the view out of the back of the house, which I told you about previously, and this fact was something my dad simply could not tolerate!

I need to tell you that my dad was NOT a patient man.  

Additionally, there was a direct correlation between his impatience and the evaporation of any logic whatsoever.

Well...he decided on a Saturday that the building needed to go.

He summoned my uncle to assist -- my uncle apparently never caught on that when my dad would do this it NEVER ended well for him.  That aside -- my uncle would always heed the call to duty as he did this day.

So...they began to disassemble this building.  I should probably describe it as ATTEMPTING to disassemble this building.  From what I could tell -- back then when they built a building -- they never had any intention of it coming down. EVER!

After about 4 hours of banging -- pulling -- prying -- and cussin' it looked exactly the same to me.

At this point my dad's impatience arrived in all it's glory.

He made a keen observation.-- what they were doing wasn't working and that building WAS going to come down.

We had a 1952 Chevrolet Pickup Truck.  Here is an ad for the 1952 Chevy Truck to give you an idea of what it looked like.



This truck became part of a plan that apparently just popped into my dad's head like so many other plans that were born out of shear impatience with the situation.

His plan was a simple one.

1. Get rope.

2. Tie one end of rope onto building.

3. Tie other end of rope onto truck's front bumper.

4. Put truck into reverse.

5, Pull building down.

6, Untie Rope

7, Enjoy view!

Yep, this was the plan.

A plan that would once again affirm for my uncle WHY when my dad calls him he should run -- run as fast as he can away from the "opportunity" being offered him.

At this point I should give you a little more background information.  First, it had rained the day before so the ground was wet.

Second, we were getting ready to put "fertilizer" on the very large garden that sat next to this building.

Third, this "fertilizer" came from a farm a ways down the road and was always piled up very close to the garden ready for spreading.

Back to the plan.  Stay with me on this because it gets somewhat complicated.

I will put it into steps -- just as it happened.

1. Dad brings truck around to building.

2, Gets very thick logging rope out of shed.

3. Ties rope onto two logs of the building where chinking had been removed.

4. Ties rope onto front bumper of truck.

5. Gets into truck and takes up slack on rope.

6. Rear truck tires begin to spin on wet grass.

7. Dad tells Uncle to hop into back of truck to add weight to stop tires from spinning.

8. Uncle hops into back of truck.

9. Dad lets off gas -- which allows slack in the rope.

10. Dad romps down on gas. (Must need more power to pull down building.)

11. Truck lurches back 

12. Bumper of truck is ripped off of truck and hits building.

13. Dad slams on brakes to stop truck.

14.  Uncle flies out of back of truck.

15.  ....and lands dead center of "fertilizer" pile.

16. Building NEVER moves.

End of execution of plan.

When things like this would happen to my dad he would always do the same thing.

He would get very quiet and look almost as if he had just watched what he had done in a movie that just played out in front of him.

He did exactly this -- and then he said...

"I can't believe they put such weak bolts on the bumper of a TRUCK!"

Oh...about my Uncle -- he was not hurt -- he just "scraped" off the "fertilizer" and then said...
"I can't believe that just happened!"

As I sat on the ground having watched all of this play out right before my eyes...like so many other "similar things...I had only one thought and that was...

"Really?"

Ken and Nanette

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some things we added...the family...and cutting Nanette's Hair...and cutting ...and cutting...

Again we must thank everyone that has visited us over the last few days!

We wish that we could share with you some of the e-mails that we have received.  We have been touched by the kindness of those that have honored us with their visit and comments.

Very quickly we want to touch on a big addition we made to the blog yesterday.

We added all of the posts that occurred on the RV-Dreams Forum which capture everything that we went through as we were making the move to the full time lifestyle.

Just go to the Blog Archives that are listed on the right side of the page -- go to the oldest and keep coming forward to today.

As I read through these posts yesterday while posting them here -- I found the emotions and memories of that time coming back in vivid detail.

I hope seeing what we went through is of some help if you are either coming into this lifestyle or want to see if our experiences were like yours before you made the transition.

Now for the family.  We have received a lot of requests about the "family" we refer to from time to time.

The members of our family are (Yours Truly) Ken.  Nanette - the brains and good looks of the family -- Isaac -- our 10 year old son - and our 6 year old son Christian.  Then there is Banjo -- the Shetland Sheep Dog.

Today we want to introduce you to Christian -- which we affectionately call Mr. Energy!

As you can see -- Christian likes his hair long -- getting him to get it cut is akin to climbing Mount Everest -- on Roller Skates!

 
 Mr, Energy and his running buddy Banjo -- yes that is a dog -- and this is the most common view we have of Christian -  in motion and moving in the opposite direction we are.
Christian trying out his hand at music.

Christian is the one that hits you with questions you are NEVER prepared for.  

His vocabulary is very advanced -- using words that cause Nanette and I to look at each other and ask -- Where did he learn THAT word?

He is very affectionate and very perceptive as to peoples moods.  

He also has Bionic Hearing -- he hears everything you say -- you don't know it -- but he does.

As far as this lifestyle -- we are pretty sure he has been a full timer before -- He absolutely loves it!

So there are some pictures of our youngest -- and a little about him -- as with all children if we wrote all there is to this young man we would never finish.  

Now onto cutting Nanette's Hair...

First of all let you share with you that Nanette has beautiful hair -- it is naturally curly -- and is fairly long down to the middle of her back.

Sometimes she wants it straight -- so she uses this "tool" to straighten it -- to me it looks like something that would be used to melt linoleum to make a seam. 

I think it heats up to about 800 degrees then you put your hair in there and smash it together and it comes out straight.  Simply a miracle device!

So she did this yesterday.

Then...

While I setting here writing the blog for today Nanette asks a seemingly innocent question.  

"Will you cut my hair?"

Well I did what I learned in "Man School" and acted like I didn't hear her.

So she did what she learned in "Woman School" and walked into the room and holding her hair in her hand stared at me until I looked up.

Dang it -- she had me.  Checkmated Again!

At this point I have a question for you...

Why is that you can cut someone's hair and it looks straight so you let go of it -- then when you check it -- it is crooked? 

Is this some joke of nature or something?

So -- I did what any kindhearted -- out of his element -- what was I thinking? -- man would do.

I grabbed her hair -- squeezed it together and whacked away with the sharpest scissors I have ever held in my hand.

...then checked it and started cutting more.

...then checked it and cut some more.

...then checked again and cut some more.

It had to be straight right?

Well it was at this moment that Nanette snatched the scissors from my hand -- fearing I am sure -- that I was approaching this something like cutting the grass.

I was happy with my work -- and quite proud of my newly gained experience in the feminine arts. 

Anyway -- I didn't wreck her hair or anything -- or give her a crew cut -- actually it looked pretty good to me and she seemed okay with it.

I have since explained to her how much I appreciated her dedication to keeping cost down in our new lifestyle by allowing me to help out with her grooming process.

She was not impressed!

Tomorrow we will introduce you to a couple more members of the family and give you another little story about my childhood.

I am going to tell you how to rip the bumper off of a truck in one easy step.

You don't want to miss the one!

Ken and Nanette

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pat and Cindy and...The Internet just called and they want their space back...

Please keep writing and commenting -- we thoroughly enjoy you sharing with us your stories and questions.

It is truly our privilege to hear from you!

We will be sharing with you more about our family soon too as many have asked...you will come to love them as much as I do I am sure!

...and Thank You again for joining us on this great adventure!!!

What I am about to share with you is a very emotional issue for Nanette and I.

We have been overwhelmed by the kindness and support of the people of the full-timing community.

...and you know what?  We think you will be too!

Those of you that are moving toward this lifestyle will find quickly the very special people that exist in this community.

The list for us goes on and on in regard to the people that have offered us encouragement, support, suggestions, and drew from their experiences in order to assist us when we struggled.

And let me tell you -- we have struggled.

We hit roadblocks at points getting to where we are that made us want to just just stop and give up.

We are also going to post here a series of postings that occurred on the RV-Dreams Forum that captured in vivid detail what we were going through as it was actually happening.  

It is very possible that as you move forward you will find people of the full time community to be priceless when your time of need arrives...and if you are like us...oh...it will arrive.

We would like to tell you about two such very special people.

Their names are Pat and Cindy Bonish.

They have a website with blogs called Every Miles A Memory.  You will see it on the Blogs We Follow on the right side of the page.

Pat and Cindy and Nanette and I have been emailing each other back and forth for a couple of weeks now and these have not been just any emails.

First of all the emails have been so long that we received a call from the people that run the internet telling us we had to stop because the internet was running out of space.

In all seriousness, our emails have contained the sharing of deep beliefs, hard times, good times, and the future between two couples -- one already in the middle of their adventure and one just starting out.

If you read through their website you will get a very good look at who they are and what they have been through. (also you must look at the photo galleries -- simply stunning work by them.)

So we had a good idea of who they were, what they are doing and how they got there.

What we weren't prepared for was what they were willing to do to help when we asked for their opinions on something we are thinking of doing.

I mean think about it -- they don't know us -- they are busy people -- they have probably received more emails like ours then you can count over the years and ours is just another one.

We thought the same thing when we sent it.  We never really expected to hear from them actually.

Then after a couple of days it came.

What we received from them was an email that addressed everything we could have hoped for and much more.  The openness they showed and the credibility with which they wrote took Nanette and I a while to process.

I can't imagine how long it took them to put that email together.  But the thing that really got me was they read everything we asked and answered point for point in depth.

I have met few people that I felt I could ask any question of and get an answer.  Well Pat and Cindy are such people -- completely open and willing to do whatever they can to help others realize their dream.

It doesn't take long when reading their blogs to understand how open they are about their relationship and their journey.

Pat and Cindy are a unique couple that like so many of us dreamed and then made the dream a reality.  Their travels are impressive and full of adventure, challenges and triumph.

It was their philosophy that grabbed our attention and compelled us to write them with our little question.

The thing is -- our little question wasn't little to them.

Why would I write about this?

In the last couple of days we have received a lot of emails from our blog.  The number one thing that we have been asked is the how-tos in making this transition. 

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of finding people that lend support as you ride the rollercoaster that is part of making this transition.

We aren't suggesting that everyone will need this.

For some it will go smoothly and feel perfectly natural -- for others there will be bumps.  These bumps may be as much emotional as physical.

When they come it is your dream that is at risk.  Seeking support may be the answer.  There is a lot of knowledge out there -- a lot of experience and creativity -- and a lot of willingness to help.

We think that tapping into this has been a very big part of us being able to be writing this as we sit in our motorhome and start on a great adventure.  An adventure that is limitless and only bordered by our imagination to take advantage of it.

As we close this post we just want to thank Pat and Cindy for all you have done for us and for all the work you put into your website so that people like Nanette and I could see from your perspective what a dream in action looks like.

You know what -- Pat and Cindy are right -- Every Mile Is A Memory!!!

See you tomorrow with some very interesting pictures!

Ken and Nanette

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The River Rises...and Tuna Fish...

First we want to thank all of the folks that visited our blog yesterday! 

Thanks to Howard of RV-Dreams Journal mentioning a great phone conversation that he and I had on Friday (which I thoroughly enjoyed!) and including our Blog address we had an overwhelming number of visitors yesterday.

We sincerely appreciate everyone taking time out of their day to come to our blog.

Secondly, we have received many emails asking for more stories like the one posted yesterday and I will tell more as time goes on.

Some of the topics will be...The day Dad burned down the Outhouse...The love / hate relationship between Dad and Trigger the Wonder Horse...and How to pull the bumper off of a truck in one easy step.  Should make for a good start.

The other topic I have been asked about is to tell about our Motorhome, why we selected it and how we handle winter camping.  I will also address those issues very soon.  What you read may really surprise you.

For today...

Here is the view of the Kentucky River out of our motorhome's back window.

 

This picture is a little deceiving even as I look at.  The tree in the back center of the photo is about 24" in diameter.  The other thing is that the river looks higher than it really is.

Having said all of that -- if the level raises about another 5 feet we will be told to leave the campground as soon as possible.  

History shows that once this warning is given you have about 2 hours before you may not be able to leave.

The campground has equipment ready to tow out any rig that is not able to be pulled out by the owner for some reason.  They also have a location out of harm's way that is setup with hookups for the quests to move to.

The thing that has surprised us is how fast the Kentucky River can rise.  The other thing is it does not have to rain where we are for it to do so.  Heavy rain upstream means high water downstream.

We are winter camping here so to make ready to leave would take some doing.  We have skirting around our motorhome -- heat taped lines -- hard plumbed sewer lines etc.  

I estimate it would take us about an hour to lift jacks and pull out.  It wouldn't be pretty but we could do it.  

This would be with Nanette getting the inside ready and me outside at the same time.  We also have a boat that has to be hooked up and towed out with our other vehicle so that adds to the logistics.

We exercise our engine and generator as well as keep an eye on tire pressure anyway but it takes on a new significance as we watch the water rise.

It is not expected to flood this time but it is too high for comfort right now.

Now onto the Tuna Fish.  

Have you ever had one of those moments in time when you find out something about your spouse that you never knew.

Well here is one for you...

If you decided to come visit us and wanted a tuna fish sandwich I found out today that you would be making it yourself and that Nanette would not be available for conversation since she would most likely be outside.

It seems -- unknown to me until today -- Nanette doesn't do the smell of Tuna Fish!  

Just when you thought you knew someone. :)

Ken

Words of Advice...and we have done it....take a look!...

Hi Ken and Nanette,


I haven't posted to this forum in a couple years.  (I have enough trouble just keeping up with getting my own blog written.)  Although my husband is well known here.  But I was moved to post by your story.


I became aware of it through Howard's blog, and Fred said I should really go back and read the thread.  So I did, start to finish.  I lost count of how many times I teared up, how many times I got goosebumps, and how many times I smiled as I read the account of your fast track to the life of fulltime RVing.  A lot of what you wrote about  mirrored our experiences on our own fast track back in 2006.


Welcome to this wonderful life.


I can see why so many urged you to start a blog.  You are a good writer and have a lot to share.  I'd make one suggestion though.  When you get a chance, I would take a lot of your postings here on this thread and make it part of your blog.  It is a wonderful story and it would be good for your blog to include all the stuff that happened along your journey to get to this point.  I love how you share your philosophical musings, your insecurities, your doubts and your triumphs.


In the future, lots of folks will find your blog.  But not all will find this forum, or find this thread on the forum, or take the time to read it through.  And so it would be a good thing to have your story there for all to read.


Good luck to you and your family.

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Well we added all the posts.

If you go to the oldest posts you see here on the blog and work from oldest to newest what you will see is how things unfolded for us -- when they did.

This chronological trail of events includes what we posted and also a few responses from others on the RV-DREAMS FORUM in a thread entitled First Post - Now this is a community!

You can start reading about our journey here:  Our First Post - Now this is a community!

We think there would be benefit in looking at what we have posted.

It gives what many have told us is a good look at how moving to this lifestyle unfolded -- when it unfolded -- and how the community reacted.

So...we offer it to you...please also remember there were SO MANY people involved that you do not see that gave us comfort, understanding, ideas, and a kick in the seat of the pants from time to time.

To these people we will be forever grateful and only HOPE that we can be such a beacon shining on the path to happiness for others as they were for us.

Ken and Nanette