Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Friday, August 29, 2008

California, Here I Come!

I am really at loose ends today just waiting to set out for my appointment to meet an Amtrak train. I am basically packed although the luggage is still sitting open so I can throw things in. I'm taking a medium size bag that I will put in the storage area and a very small rolling bag that I will carry into the roomette with me, plus a backpack that will contain reading materials and things I need quick access to - camera, cellphone charger, my wallett, tickets. etc. I'm leaving enough room in the backpack to hold the bottle of scotch I will buy at Schneider's on Massachusetts Ave.

I dropped a few things off at the Goodwill van and decided to stop by the Jayco sales lot nearby. It was the very first place I went to after I made the decision to sell the house and go into an RV. I looked at a couple of 5th wheels but they seemed a bit cramped - nothing like the space in the Cardinal LE I really liked. I think I will look until I find one with either a computer desk already built in, or at least have the space where I could add one. The computer space is more important to me than the TV/entertainment center. With all the forums, blogs, rv email newsletters and such, I don't have time to watch tv all that much, and I wonder who the manufacturers are building the big entertainment centers for. I'm probably wrong about this - but it's just my own take on it.

I feel so sorry for my two dogs, having to take them to the kennel in a couple of hours and leave them for 2 weeks. They know something is going on and are just waiting for the axe to drop.

I will miss the chat room for the next two nights at least, sorry to say. I've gotten used to spending my evenings following the travels, triumphs & tribulations of others like myself who either are traveling in RV's or planning to do so. Once I board the train in Chicago I will be on it for two days until I reach Sacramento, and then possibly I will try to connect in the evenings. Tomorrow's journey from DC to Chicago will largely consist of getting settled in the roomette, maybe a visit to the observation car, dinner, and hopefully an early night. I will try to get some good pictures of the train - not sure how many readers have traveled on Amtrak, but it is really nice and spacious, especially relative to plane travel. My train travel goes back to the days when I traveled as a young child from Cincinnati to visit my mom's folks in southwestern Kentucky. My parents would take me to Union Station as the train arrived from Washington, DC. carrying my uncle, and he would be hanging out the window waving to let us know which car he was on. I would then join him for the trip south. I loved looking out the window of the B&O & L&N trains watching towns & farms as we went by, just as I love it today from the roomette window on the Amtrak.

I'll catch up with y'all later.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Looks like I'm selling -

I signed all the papers today to get everything going forward on the sale of my house. I leave for California tomorrow evening, and the inspections should all be done by the time I get back in two weeks. But then it will be another month to closing and I dread that month. Snags always arise and I just want it to be over with. I love this area, the view from my house, the people in western North Carolina, etc., and I will miss it. But I've been a gypsy long enough to know when it's time to move on into uncharted (for me) waters.

I don't know what drives me to do things like this, but I recognize the same characteristic in just about every full-timer whose blogs I read, chat with online, or whose books I read. Amazing, isn't it, how much we have in common - not so much in our backgrounds and the walk of life we found ourselves in, but in what we intend to do with our lives from the moment the full-timer bug catches us. And for me, following a love for backpacking and being outdoors, it's just a natural progression - a fairly simple life with reduced possessions and an appreciation for this wonderful planet I am on, and especially this beautiful continent in which I live.

Now I hope I am fortunate enough to be able to find just the perfect RV for me, and whatever I need to pull it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And another rainy day!

I think a good dent has been made in our water shortage over the past 24 hrs. I don't mind another day or two of rain, except that it is very difficult to walk two dogs along a trail in the woods twice a day, and catch them to wipe their paws before they come back into the house.

I had an offer on my house yesterday that was so low I refused it without even countering. They obviously expected that because they had another offer in waiting. This morning I countered it for my asking price, but I agreed to pay a chunk of their closing costs. They are financing FHA which I hate to get involved with, but we'll see what happens. I'm waiting to hear now if they accept my counter offer. I leave this weekend for 2 weeks, and all inspections are to be completed by the time I get back, with closing set on or before Oct 28. That really delays my buying an RV/tow vehicle, and I had hoped to be somewhere I wouldn't have to deal with snow until I get more used to living/maintaining an RV. It will be enough to learn all about driving, hitching/unhitching, etc., without worrying about heavy-duty winterization.

Also, I've decided not to rush the process, even if it means I have to find a motel that will accept me and my dogs for a month or so. I won't have much money to spend, so I'd better spend it wisely and be sure I have something I like and can live with. I look at Class C's once in a while, and while I think I could probably live in one, I can't picture the dogs there also, so I'm pretty much settled on the 5Ver.

The potential buyers are scheduled to return for a visit to the house this evening, so I have to do my daily dusting, polishing, etc. That spot on the living room carpet still shows. I treated it again this morning, but I don't think there is much more I will be able to do with it. Maybe the spot won't show if I vacuum the entire rug against the pile . Both dogs look the other way when I am trying to clean that spot! They'd better not cross me, lol.

I'll post again later today if I have any news.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hey, we finally got some rain!

It has been raining all day long and shows no sign of stopping. It is a fine soft rain and I am so happy to see it.

I had someone here today to repair the carpet in front of the fireplace, where a couple of hot sparks messed it up. I thought he would replace a small piece of good carpet for the damaged part, but the fireplace is in the corner of the room on the diagonal, making it very difficult to piece the carpet. It looks ok to me, although you can tell that it's been repaired if you look closely.

I need to start packing for my Amtrak trip to California on Friday night, but don't want to have the suitcase sitting out when someone comes to look at the house tomorrow evening. I guess I'll have to pack on Thursday. This is where guys have it so much easier, being able to pack 15 minutes before leaving and not miss a thing. I still don't know what combination of suitcases I'm going to take. I will check one bag, plus I will have at least one carry-on. The problem is that darn laptop - it's heavy and I don't know whether to put it in a backpack (and let my back & neck suffer), or in a rolling carry-on - decisions, decisions! I'll also have to stow all of it in a storage compartment at the train station in DC, while I will have at least 4-1/2 hrs to run around Washington. I plan to visit the very best liquor store in the country - about 2 blocks from the station - and treat myself to a bottle of scotch for the trip, another heavy thing to carry. I normally can't afford scotch, but I will enjoy a scotch & water in my little roomette before bedtime each evening.

I mentioned that the house will be shown tomorrow evening. I don't normally even like to drive after sundown, plus I'll have the two dogs with me, and I don't know where in the world we can go for the time the real estate agent & potential buyers are here. This is a 2nd visit so I am beside myself with anxiety and joy! I keep checking Camping World online in Woodstock, Georgia, and "my" 5th wheel seems to still be there.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Out, Out

I feel like Lady Macbeth this morning, but after I shout "Out, out, damn spot!" I can't remember the rest of it. Yes, I'm still working on that rug, and I'm seriously thinking about having the living room carpet cleaned, except that would prompt both dogs to seriously think about marking it with something foul. What is it about domestic animals that makes them do things like that?

We are getting a sprinkle now and then but the air is so dry that most of it evaporates before it hits the ground. The sprinkle doesn't even last a minute and then I don't hear it anymore. I'd go outside and do a rain dance except I think they would haul me away!

Well, I have a house to tidy up so I'd better not sit at the computer all day. I may post later, but that's all for now. I can tell you that by now I am sick and tired of living in a spotless (well, almost) house where I can't set anything down and I can't find anything I'm looking for.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Anyone need a good dog?

Yesterday wasn't one of my better days, but this morning I walked into the living room to find a huge mess on the rug made by the larger dog, Lady. She has only done that one other time in the nearly 5 years that I've had her. I don't think I can deal with this while I'm trying to keep my house ready to show on short notice. I've been working on the stain all morning, and I almost hope no one wants to come by today. So I'd gladly give this dog to anyone who would take her!

To add to my difficulties this morning I've been reading some of the RVer's blogs. When I try to leave a comment I have to jump through hoops for google to let me do it. I swear I must have several userid's & passwords with google, and I never know which one is the right one. I know that when signing in to your own blog you can check the box to have it remember you, but I want to make sure I've got it right, and when I get it right I can never get back to check the box! I like the format used on MyTripJournal and seriously think about switching. Maybe when I finally get my RV and am on the road again.....

It looks like it will be another sunny day here in Paradise. Sister Fay, where are thou?

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I woke up this morning and running through my head was the song, "Desperados Waiting for a Train". I thought it was sort of appropriate since I have one week to go until I will be waiting for the train that will take me on the long journey from North Carolina to California for my son's wedding. Also, by the end of one more week I will be absolutely desperate to find a buyer for my house! I'm actually looking forward to the train ride, and can't wait to see my four grandchildren, and by the end of September I will have 5 gk's! I plan to take lots of pictures and hope to be able to figure out how to post them. Another thing I'm looking forward to is getting together with some of my siblings - not all of them will be able to make the trip this time - but the older I get the more I treasure being able to be with them when the opportunity arises. I'm the oldest of eight, for those of you who don't know me very well.

I went to bed fairly early last night but the phone woke me up at 1 am! I tripped over one of the dogs trying to get to the living room in the dark, but made it in time. It was some guy who had obviously been drinking a bit, and who just wanted to chat. I searched my memory bank for a name to match that voice, and while I have had a similar call or two in my lifetime, this was no one I knew. I told him he had the wrong number, and the guy was so apologetic he wanted to keep me on the phone to tell me how sorry he was and to thank me for being so nice. Not at 1:00 am buddy! I was so thankful it was no one calling with bad news that I didn't even get irritated. Gee, I am mellowing to the extent that I don't recognize me any more.

Friday, August 22, 2008


They got me last night. In the 5 yrs I've lived here, setting the trash out every Thursday night, I've only been hit by the bears twice. I think it's because I don't have a lot of garbage to throw out and the fact that I have a trash can with a lid that you have to give a quarter turn to get it on or off. They must be getting smarter because they got it off. The trash collectors picked up most of it, which I really appreciate as they usually just leave it strewn all over. So I could be in a national park campground for all the bear activity!

It's cool and breezy this morning, and feels like fall. Perfect weather!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What will I do first?

I drove over to school today and formally dropped my two courses. I'll save the textbooks just in case the house doesn't sell, God forbid, so I can re-register for the spring semester.

On the way back I went through an exercise that I find myself doing constantly. That is: if an offer on the house comes through tomorrow and the ball starts rolling, what will I do first? Unfortunately I can't run out and buy a 5th wheel or a truck until the money from the house hits my bank account. What happens if I find the perfect 5Ver and it's sold to someone else before I can pay for it?

I think the first thing I will do is arrange for my new address in SD. Then I will need to think of how I am going to send notification of my change of address to everyone, beginning with Office of Personnel Mgmt-Retirement Division! I will eventually drop Charter, through which I have telephone, cable tv & internet service, so I'll have to notify everyone in my address book of a new email. By the way, I have already added another email address in anticipation of the switch from Charter. It is: gypsy97@myRVspace.com. I don't get much mail there so far, but it is at least something to work on.

So if any of you readers would like to send me suggestions, you can try out my new email address. I know there will be important things to do that I am either not aware of or just forgot about. I've never completely dropped out of "the regular system" before. Even when I moved to Ireland I used the address of one of my kids, who also took care of banking & such, so this will be a whole new way of living for me.

I'll just have to start making lists, and I'm good at that. So that will be the first thing, and the 2nd will be to set up in SD.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Ok, I have the days of the week figured out, and I would put money on the fact that this is Wednesday. I went to school yesterday and will go tomorrow, but I think I'm going to have to drop out, at least for the fall semester. All my energy is going into trying to keep my house in order and to sell it, and to plan for the near future in an RV.

I just subscribed to Workamper News, and hope to get a better idea of the jobs that are available. I don't want to be a camp host, but there has to be something else out there. I'm favoring the national parks, COE campgrounds, etc. for working, but also for stays of a couple of weeks or more. I'm willing to volunteer in exchange for a campsite, which to me is sort of like getting paid when you think about it. No cash coming into your hand, but then no cash outgoing to pay for a place to stay either.

All you folks who have been getting more rain than you need, please visualize in unison, sending some of that rain to western North Carolina, which is in extreme drought now. The leaves are falling off the trees, azaelea and rhododendron bushes, and the best we can hope for is that the remnants of Fay will make it this far. The weather people don't hold out much hope for that though.

Nothing interesting happening here - just waiting for a breakthrough.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wait! TODAY is Monday!

Today is the 1st day of my class in Cultural Anthropology, plus I registered for an online class in Archaeology. I was thinking about withdrawing from both since my future is so up in the air, waiting for the house to sell and deciding on (and finding) the perfect 5th wheel/tow vehicle for me. But I'm going to class this morning and give it a try. I can always withdraw at a later date if it seems that things are moving too fast for me to keep up with the course work. I need something to bring me back down to earth and reality anyway.

When I started back to school last year I told my kids and asked for their input - mainly, would I be accepted by the younger students. They were all encouraging, but my oldest gave me words of widsom: "Mom, just keep your mouth shut, and if the teacher asks if there are any questions with 1 minute to go, don't ask anything." Of course he knew I couldn't keep my mouth shut all the time, but I kept his advice in mind, especially when I didn't exactly agree with someone, but I tried to listen to their point of view. Amazing how well that works!

So if Murphy's law is still viable, I will get an offer on my house tomorrow, close within a month, and be on my way to full-timing, and my agonizing over school will OBE.

Here I am again, several hours later. First, let me say that the staff here at the home should do a better job of making sure I don't leave the grounds on my own.

All day yesterday I thought it was Monday, and was even surprised to find my mailbox empty. My Anthro class is on Tue & Thur, so I went to school this morning and sat down in the appropriate classroom. I knew I was in trouble when a man handed me a syllabus for a political science class. To make a long story short, I have to go back for my first class tomorrow. While I was on campus I stopped at the bookstore to sell back two textbooks from last year. When I attended college in the 80's & 90's textbooks were running about $45 each - now they are well over $100, but I got only $25 back for 2 textbooks! I would have kept them except I won't have room for them in my RV. See how I'm learning?

So the bottom line is that I gained a day in my life, and that means I am younger than I thought.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another Monday

Nothing much is happening today. I have that let-down feeling you get the day after someone looks at your house, but before you get any feedback. I'm trying so hard not to be depressed.

We got a bit of rain last night - not nearly enough - but enough to make the water bead up on my newly-stained decks. Also, it makes me have to catch the dogs before they enter the house so I can wipe their paws on a towel. They still leave tracks!

I changed the title of this blog since I found out there is already an "On the Road Again" blog. I'm not entirely satisfied with this one because Gypsy isn't actually on the road again - YET. But she will be soon! I'm keeping my gypsy fingers crossed.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Need a Name Change

I noticed that another RVer's blog is called "On the Road Again", so I will try to think of a different name for mine. I chose this one because I love Willie Nelson - the ringtone on my cell phone is "On The Road Again", except for my 3 sons which is the "Dukes of Hazzard". When I hear that I know it's one of my good old boys.

I was just ready to post this a few hours ago when I got a call from a real estate agent who wanted to show my house in the next 2 hrs, so I had to quickly clean, polish & vacuum. I'm keeping it pretty clean but because of dog hair floating around, plus the inevitable spider webs you get when you live in the trees, I like to go over everything.

I continued to read blogs & journals yesterday, and first on my "to do" list was Speedy's. He did not disappoint. Good thing the nearest neighbor's house is far enough away that they couldn't hear me cackling. Laughter is good for the soul and my soul is in good shape from reading Speedy.

One thing that struck me is that Mr. Speedy constantly mentions the fact that Sherri is so much better at painting, caulking, etc. I can see right through this deception, because my husband used to do the same thing. Once he replaced a window pane back in the days when you had to putty all around it. He did the worst looking putty job I had ever seen, so of course I had to redo it. Then we found out that I was pretty good at it so anything in that department became my job, along with painting and caulking. You guys are so smart in that respect - do a crappy job and you know we will come to your rescue and take it upon ourselves from then on, lol.

I guess the reverse happens also - I've only had to change a tire once in my life. Just stand at the side of the road holding the user's manual in one hand and the jack in the other, while staring at anything other than the tire, and guaranteed some wonderful man will come along and change it within minutes. God bless 'em!

One more thing, it seems that the guys spend an inordinate amount of time checking, fixing, and cleaning systems in the RV. I know this is a good thing to do, but how much of a good thing will I need to do. You replace anodes (I don't even know what an anode is), drill, seal, and probably use tools that I have never had. See, the thing is that I have no one to share the jobs with, and I don't know if there are enough hours in the day to do them all. I worry I won't have any time left over for just sitting and thinking, taking a nap, listening to bluegrass, and just being a lazy retired person.

I usually go to bed at night thinking "Dear God, what am I letting myself in for?", and the next thought usually is "Lord, please bring it on soon before I change my mind!".

Friday, August 15, 2008

A lazy day just reading

I spent nearly the entire day yesterday reading other folks' journals/blogs. When I left off, Bob & Judy were back in New Mexico, and Robert & Leslie were just leaving Homer, Alaska. Today I will begin with Speedy's blog and I expect to laugh my way through most of the entries. I agree with those who say this is very addicting, and the list is growing for RVers I feel like I'm getting to know. Thanks to mrsgeek (Chris) I now know how to add a list of others' blogs to my page. I will do that soon, and will try to add pictures as well. Too bad I don't yet have a beautiful RV or tow vehicle to take a picture of, but I have a vivid picture in my mind!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Word play

I am getting so far ahead of myself - I can see me driving down the highway in my monster (to me) truck, towing my 30-something foot 5th wheel and anticipating whatever comes my way. I am no way near selling my house upon which this adventure is predicated, and then there will come the agony of deciding what I can't take with me. But at least I can dream about it and solve some of the problems in my mind, if not in real time.

I was talking to my daughter a couple of days ago and describing what I hoped I would be able to buy and call home. She asked about the truck, and Oh Lord, how I am loving being able to talk truck! Not that I could stand with the boys on it, but I think Jeannie was impressed when I told her I was considering a Ford 350 with a Crew Cab, Diesel, Dually. I just love that word, "dually", and I'm now able to say it out loud without feeling too self-conscious about it. (Her response was "YOU'RE gonna buy a FORD???)

I should clarify something I wrote in yesterday's entry, and that is my preference for the word "journal" over "blog". I moved to a tiny little fishing/farming community in rural Ireland in 2000, and lived there for three years, thus missing out on about 3 years of advances in computing technology. I came back to hear "blog this" and "blog that", and didn't want to show my ignorance on the subject so I kept quiet until someone else asked. I figured that blogging was for younger folks, who also like to "text" and to do something with "blueberries" that I haven't quite figured out yet. I have the journals I wrote while backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, as well as the journal I kept in Ireland, and my motto has always been "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", so I will continue to keep a journal about my attempts to become a full-time RVer. Maybe some day I will be posting my Alaska journal along with the "greats" that now inspire me to aim for Homer and Hope!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A little of this and a little of that

First of all I don't "blog", I "journal"! Now that I've clarified that point I can get on to the relevant stuff, and that is my preparation for adopting a full-time RVing lifestyle. I search every web site I can find for a suitable 5th wheel and tow vehicle, although naturally I won't be able to afford exactly what I would like to have. As the old song goes, "If ya can't be with the one ya love, love the one you're with". I originally fell in love with a 31/32' Americana model, but the price is just a bit over what I can realistically afford since I will also need to buy a tow vehicle, so I'm looking at gently used models.

Last weekend I drove to a local Camping Center and walked through upteen models. The one that really got my attention was a Forest River Cardinal, Model TS33 LE. It has a lot of features that I like, including a computer desk, and the extensive use of wood moldings give the unit a very rich look and feel. It has a free-standing dinette which I prefer over the booth, is plumbed for a washer/dryer, and has the features you would expect in a mid-priced 5th wheel. I also found several of this model listed at a Camping World within 200-300 miles, one of which is a new 2008 model with the price already discounted, but I would offer even less than what is quoted.

I also looked for the Keystone Montana, which also has a beautiful floor plan, but there aren't many used models in this part of the country. So the search goes on.

Yesterday evening I had the first-ever potential buyer to view my house. After cleaning and polishing all day I took the two dogs to a nearby lake, visited Taco Bell, looked at the latest issue of Trailer Life, and killed as much time as I could. I drove back to see people on my front deck, so I drove on by and returned about a half hour later. I am anxious to get feelback. My house smells like Old English furniture oil, Lysol kitchen cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, and Febreeze!

My thoughts this morning have centered around one of my aunts who lived to be in her 80's. When she was in her 70's she traveled around the world, and soon after returning home she bought an old Volkswagon van. She drove that across the country more than once, and her sense of humor, frugality, and her ways in general have been a great source of amusement to my kids. This morning the thought popped into my head that one of my sons has made the comparison a couple of times lately between Aunt Artie and me!

I don't take offense to it because while my siblings and I groan when the subject of Aunt Artie comes up, my kids just loved her to pieces! Actually we all did, but she could be soooo embarassing at times. She was really a gypsy at heart though, and maybe that is how I come by it honestly. But I vow I will never, ever, save used paper towels from a public restroom to wipe the dipstick when I change my oil! This episode still sends my kids into howls and fits of laughter. When my daughter washed her hands and then threw the paper towel into the receptacle, Artie dove in and retrieved it, saying "I save these to use when I check the oil in my van".

I really want to drive to Alaska before I'm too old, and I have to believe I can do it solo - and I'll dedicate my trip to Aunt Artie!