Sunday, November 28, 2004

10:40 AM Sunday November 28, 2004

Looking out the window beside the computer, the sky is blue and full of fluffy white clouds. It was very cold (meaning the sky was clear) last night so we figured it would be sunny today. Phil hopes to wash the motorhome and get her ready for our "maiden voyage" so to speak. Gotta look good for the pictures, right? One day and counting ...

We did the laundry yesterday. Our first experience using a laundromat (until the sale closed, I was doing our laundry at the house) and I've just discovered the SECOND thing I miss about my former lifestyle ... my own washer and dryer. The FIRST of course, was our king size bed. Then, we discovered that if the motorhome was perfectly level, and I wasn't rolling off the bed all night, it was actually a pretty good mattress. Anyway, from start to finish, it took about two hours and cost about $10 in quarters. It was $1.25 to wash and quarter for nine minutes to dry. I was paranoid about germs so Phil wiped out the washers with germicidal wipes and I felt a little better ... then, a young man walked in with a wet (dirty) jacket and threw it in a dryer and I realized we didn't wipe out the dryers before we used them ... so much for being careful about bugs! I've decided that doing laundry every two weeks will be often enough and then I can fill up the machines (I am anal about sorting and only washed half loads) so I won't feel quite so "ripped off." We entertained ourselves by reading but even so, the two hours seemed like all afternoon. I hope the laundromats in the RV parks are cleaner than this one for public use. Either that, or I become less compulsive about the way I do our washing. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, November 26, 2004

3:45 PM Friday November 26, 2004

Wow! I slept late this morning and Phil was a quiet as a mouse so he wouldn't wake me. We had a late night full of laughter and reminiscing while enjoying a family Thanksgiving dinner at my niece, Tammy's new home between Shelton and Olympia. I have written about her many talents in my Christmas letters before and often described her as the "Hostess with the Mostess" in our clan. As a single parent of two, Andy 15 and Jessica 10, working full time for the State of WA and weekends at her friend's furniture store, she is a very busy person. A year or so ago, she had a beautiful new home built in the country on about five timbered acres and is in the process of having the landscaping done now. Besides enjoying a feast prepared by Tammy plus many delicious additions provided by various guests, Phil and I, my sister, Robin and my brother-in-law, Paul celebrated our birthdays as well. This has been a 19 year tradition since Phil and I discovered we shared the same birthday and we hosted the Thanksgiving dinner for many years. Over time, the group birthday has involved all the other birthdays in the family for November and December so no one was left out. This will be our final participation because we intend to be on the road at this time next year and if everything goes as planned, for many years to come.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

8:30 AM Thursday November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving! Four days and counting! Monday, November 29 is the big day when our adventure officially begins. How far we'll travel and exactly where we'll end up on Monday night is carved in Jell-O but the general direction is South and the approximate location of the end of our first day is Salem Oregon. We've found a nice little RV park with phone lines at each site that we're going to aim for and if our plans work out, we'll have Internet that night and I'll be able to write about our first day of being fulltime RVers.

Monday, November 22, 2004

10:30 AM Monday November 22, 2004

Today is Monday and our departure date is fast approaching. The house sale has "closed" (and the check cleared ... grin); the towbar is installed; Phil is hooking up the wires for the "Brake Buddy" that will control the brakes in the Ranger while it's towed down the road as I write this; we have two new front tires on the Ranger; we're lining up our stops along the way; we've said most of our goodbyes and crossed most of the t's and dotted most of the i's so we are beginning to believe it's really going to happen.
This past Saturday, we went to visit Phil's son, Mike and see his family one last time before we leave. It was a real love-fest with their baby daughter, Brooke Ann. She is adorable and because no one in the room knew (or told her) that usually babies don't like me much ... she and I had a wonderful snuggle.

This darling baby girl is such a gift to Mike and Mari and she is so loved. Posted by Hello

She really liked hearing how beautiful she is! Posted by Hello

Brooke and Grandma Joy having a talk. Posted by Hello

Brooke Ann at three weeks old, November 20, 2004 Posted by Hello

Jeremy in "entertain myself" mode. Posted by Hello

Daddy's beautiful little "princess"...  Posted by Hello

Sunday, November 21, 2004

8:50 AM Sunday November 21, 2004

We took the leap and asked that our web site be added to the list of links on this website: and what fun it has been. Ron Bunge and his partner, Terry have put together a site where fulltime RVers (or wannabees like we were for years) who are dreaming of -- planning for -- or actually -- "living the dream", (the fulltimer's mantra) can find each other in one convenient place. My original plan was to wait until we were actually on the road but since we are so close to beginning our new life style, I decided our preparation for going "fulltime" might be of interest to some and went ahead and put my web log on now. I'd like to add a permanent link on the front page of my blog but haven't figured out how to do it yet. Since being added to "Hitchitch", we've exceeded 1,000 hits and that pleases me very much. Obviously, there's nothing more satisfying to a person who writes than to know someone is reading it, so if you would like some vicarious travel adventure along with many wonderful pictures of this beautiful country ... take a look.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

10:10 AM Saturday November 20, 2004

On Wednesday, November 17 we took our little Ford Ranger over to the Hitch Shop in Olympia and had a Stowmaster 5000 by Roadmaster installed on the front so it can be towed behind our motorhome. Their price was $500 less than we were quoted at Camping World. We did have to wait about 10 days for them to order and receive the hitch but we're retired, right? We have more time than money. After we were hitched up, we drove back to Shelton and Phil discovered how effortless it was to pull the truck behind the Pace Arrow. The good news is he couldn't tell it was back there and the bad news is he couldn't tell it was back there. We discussed the possibility of having an aftermarket back-up camera installed because it's a bit disconcerting to not be able to see your toad. We bought a stick-on, wide angle lens for the back window of the motorhome that will have to be our eyes until we get a camera.

Sunny south ... here we come! Posted by Hello

Ready to roll ...  Posted by Hello

Phil listens to last minute instructions about towing the Ranger.  Posted by Hello

Phil looks on as the electrical connection is finished up on the Pace.  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

9:45 AM Tuesday November 16, 2004

We enjoyed a great visit from some of the Tacoma kids this past Saturday afternoon. We met Phil's oldest son, Rick with his family as well as Phil's youngest son, Jerry and third son Jeff's oldest boy ... grandson, Anthony at 3:00 PM at the old house and they followed us over to the motorhome. After the "grand tour" (that took about five minutes ... ha! ) and the kids checked out all the bells and whistles, we took them to dinner at one of Shelton's great Mexican restaurants. There was lots of laughter and reminiscing as well as Phil and I getting caught up on all the news from both boys and of course, we took a few pictures.

Phil and Joy with Jerry November 13, 2004. Posted by Hello

Rick (oldest son), Jerry (youngest son) and proud papa, Phil-November 13, 2004. Posted by Hello

Rhonda and her son Mike (14) and Anthony (12), Phil's son Jeff's oldest boy. November 13, 2004. Posted by Hello

Rhonda and Rick Brown-November 13, 2004. Posted by Hello

Sunday, November 14, 2004

8:30 AM Sunday November 14, 2004

Due to winter rainfall, Shelton rarely has the beautiful autumnal colors we've seen this year. The fall of 2004 has been nearly perfect with warm, sun-filled days and cool nights that not only turned much of the deciduous foliage to brilliant reds and oranges but the lack of wind and rain allowed the rare spectacle to stay attached to the trees long enough to be photographed!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Fall colors on Railroad Ave. in Shelton 11-2004. Posted by Hello

Fall color at bayshore. Posted by Hello

Friday, November 12, 2004

7:25 PM Friday November 12, 2004

I really adore my little sister, Dixie. I was ten years old when she was born and had the ultimate pleasure of "playing" co-mama for the first five years of her life. That role ended when I ran off and got married at 15 years old but that's another story. Anyway, I thought I knew her pretty well until with the help of some of my dearest (and sneakiest) family and friends, she pulled off the ultimate surprise party for Phil and I on November 5th. We thought we were going to a small dinner party at her house but we walked in to a house full of people, some we hadn't seen in ten years and each time there was knock on the door more of our nearest and dearest came in until we numbered nearly 25 people. I was in a state of numb and so overcome with emotion at the wonderful turnout to wish us "happy trails" and "bon voyage" I'm sure I was acting strangely and the pictures don't do my euphoria justice but believe me, we were very pleased! The potluck buffet was bountiful, incredibly delicious and the beautiful cake says it all! Thank you dear sister!

Phil and Joy cutting the cake. Posted by Hello

Cake inscribed, "Your Free to Rock, Roll and Roam." Yes, indeedee! Posted by Hello

Friends, Andy and Barb with Phil in his favorite, "Will fish for food" shirt. Posted by Hello

Friends: Sharon H., Barb and Lester. Posted by Hello

Aunties, Bev and Elaine, granddaughter, Megan, friends Sharon and Helga. Posted by Hello

Our friend, Barb and Gloria. Posted by Hello

Dixie's daughter and my beautiful niece, Tammy with her dad, Dixie's husband, Paul overseeing the food line.  Posted by Hello

Former co-workers and my former employees (and adopted daughters) Dora and Pat bringing each other up to date as Dora's husband, Ron looks on. Posted by Hello

Roxy, my precious stepdaughter from my 2nd marriage and me.  Posted by Hello