Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Feeling the freedom already!

I went to the apartment first thing, swept the patio and then threw the broom into the dumpster, then turned in the keys. I didn't even go inside as Donald & Jeannie went with me last night to check it out. I wanted someone with sharp eyesight to make sure everything was immaculate and that I didn't leave anything in the cabinets.

I got my hair cut short today and it looks much better. I wish I could wear my hair long, and every now and then I try it again, but the shorter style is best for an aging face.

I bought a new tent as I realized my tent was with son Steve, in Monterey, CA. I think I'm going to love the new one - basically two poles, 5'6" headroom (and the walls don't slope so that the headroom is good in almost the entire tent. It's a 4-person tent which may seem like a lot, but the number of people who fit comfortably in a tent is always less than what is stated in the advertising. This will be good for me and the dog and give us plenty of move-around room. Best of all it has a full rainfly, and no matter what anyone says, those little awnings will NOT keep a rain out unless it is falling gently straight down. I'm told that a camp cot assures a perfect night's sleep, and I'll probably break down and get one.

I also bought a book on tent camping in northern CA, and found this gem:

"Go tent camping. Live in paradise for a few days. Camping makes you want to sin like the damned, sleep like the righteous, and hike like the last of the great American walkers. It's a balm for the weary soul!"

Sin, sleep and hike. Can't think of anything better!

I also stopped at AAA and picked up some new maps for the northeast, as the ones I have are several years old. You know what I'll be doing for the next couple of weeks - looking at maps even though I might not make it up into New England this trip.

Now I need to go find a couch to stretch out on and take a look at those maps.

I made it with room to spare

This evening my apartment is completely empty and sparkling clean. Tomorrow I will sweep the patio for the final time and turn in the keys. It's hard to believe I was moving in about 13 months ago. I really don't like apartment living, but the location was perfect, the rent was affordable, and I enjoyed being close to the kids, the eye doctor (cataract), and various businesses I patronized. The noise from upstairs kept me awake at nights sometimes, and the mold and related issues that I experienced just recently amounted to the nails in the coffin! But I'm not sorry I lived here for the time I did - it was what I needed when I decided to get out of the 5th wheel.

Staying at Jeannie & Donald's might put some weight on me. Last night Donald fixed chicken marsala, and tonight was shrimp on a bed of spinach and basil, mixed with a sauce of mayonnaise and cognac as well as some spices I'm not sure about. Served in a giant margarita glass, it was as beautiful as it was delicious. He cooks some wonderful meals and I'm lucky to be here for a couple of weeks.

The cover for the truck is scheduled to arrive in Sacramento this Saturday, but since I didn't pay extra for weekend delivery I will get it on Monday. I hope it installs as easy as it is supposed to, and that it will keep the cargo safe and dry and critter-proof!

Monday, April 25, 2011

More packing & cleaning

I am really weary by now, and anxious to get moved out of here. Then I will have about two weeks before I see the eye surgeon,and hopefully leave the next day. I still don't have 100% improvement in my eye, but my daughter reminded me that I still have one more stitch to be removed. That should make it better, and maybe he can write me a prescription for glasses, at least for reading. The ones I'm using now probably cause more problems than they help.

It was raining this morning so the chipped paint on the bumper doesn't stand out as much as it does when dry. It doesn't bother me, but I guess I should see if I can get someone to touch it up rather than repaint the entire bumper. Or not.

The salesman from Enterprise called and told me they could give me more for my truck if I was still interested. Well I don't like being jerked around so I said I wasn't. It is stressful enough to sell a vehicle and buy another one. It is stressful enough to pack up everything to vacate an apartment, as well as try to plan what I can take on a cross country trip and how I'm going to manage it. I sure can't, or don't want to try to do it all within 2-1/2 weeks, so I'll just go ahead with driving the truck to NY and see what I can do there.
I didn't get much done at the apartment today, but enough so that I can see some headway. I spent most of the day at Jeannie's, and thought I'd have to sleep there tonight because I couldn't find my keys when it was time to leave. Everyone looked everywhere! I had a spare set of truck keys, but no house keys. Don't ask me why, but I normally never lock my door when I leave, but now with nearly everything gone, I decided to lock it today. It was getting close to absolute dark and I was beside myself when I remembered that I wore a jacket and hung it in the closet rather than over the chair. Sure 'nuf, the keys were in my pocket. I just about made it home while I could still see.

Then I made a total screw-up of backing the truck in because someone came in right behind me and wouldn't go around me. I don't know if they wanted to watch, or if they were trying to be polite and wait until I had backed in. I finally pulled out into the lot again and waved them on. Then I backed in with no trouble, not the easiest thing to do in the dark, and you can see on my header picture the concrete and rocks I have to deal with on one side, plus a big Chevy Blazer parked next to me.

A reader wanted to know if there is more of a demand for a Ford F-350 on the east coast. I'm not sure if there is any difference - there is about $10 difference in blue book value. I think what would work better on both coasts is if I were to advertise to the RV and sportsman market, rather than sell to a dealer or a company such as Enterprise.

Anyone who pulls a 5th wheel, or drives a motorhome for that matter, knows that sooner or later you will get too close to a post, or a gas pump, or whatever. I have a bit of chipped paint on the front bumper and the guy who looked at my truck talked about having to repaint the bumper, paint the tailgate, and so on. And OMG, there is some rust on the undercarriage. He admitted that Californians get the heebie-jeebies when they see rust, whereas it isn't such an oddity on the east coast.

I think to keep things in perspective it is a good idea to remember that this is a 2002 year truck - 10 yrs old. It is built to work, and a pristine 10 yr old Ford F-350, or a Chevy/Dodge 3500 hasn't done much work. In other words, a buyer thinking to tow a trailer, or take it out 4-wheelin' or putting it to use as it is meant to be used, isn't going to gasp at a 3 inch circle of paint chipped. Tomorrow I will try to remember to take a photo of the bumper and you can see for yourselves. (This is what looks to be a dark charcoal colored bumper, with a coat of black paint on it.)

I know there are some people who baby their vehicles and keep them in top notch condition, and I applaud that. But for me, I towed a 5th wheel with it and I ran over some curbs, brushed against the fence along my daughter's driveway trying to turn that monster around, and a few other things. It runs like a champ and when it's cleaned and polished it looks beautiful to me. The fact that it's 10 years old and has a few dings doesn't bother me at all. What's 10 truck years equivalent to in a human life span? I have a few dings myself and a bit of chipped paint, and I think I'm still sorta ok, if not exactly beautiful!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I am so tired of this place!

I have the bar stool and a camp chair to sit on, and my air mattress to sleep and nap on, but I should have everything else cleared out soon. Tomorrow I will be at Jeannie's house for a big part of the day, but Monday it will be time to get serious. Jeannie & Donald came by this afternoon and took a lot of boxes and smaller items to the storage for me. What I'm really having a problem with is clothing. I can't make up my mind what and how many of different things I should take with me. I know I've packed too many pairs of jeans, but I don't like to do laundry more often than every two weeks, and sometimes I can stretch it a bit longer. That means I need lots of everything.

I solved one problem and ordered a tonneau cover this afternoon. It is one of the more inexpensive ones, but since I hope to sell the truck in NY I don't want to invest a lot into anything else for it. At least I will be able to carry most everything in the truck bed. The cover won't stop a determined thief, but I hope I won't have any determined thieves around - I just want to deter anyone with quick grabby hands!

Donald looked at the various covers online, and the one I selected seems to be easy enough to install. He showed me a picture of a woman doing it. Hahaha. I guess I could have in my younger days, but I simply don't want to do anything like that any more. I feel a lot better about the upcoming trip now, as I was getting a bit downhearted just thinking about how I could carry everything, make enough room for Lady, and not be robbed blind.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I can see light

I can see the end of the tunnel. I'm not there yet, by a long shot, but I know I can do it. I took 6 boxes over to storage today, 3 of which were fairly heavy and 3 were lighter. I got smart the last time I bought boxes and got selected only the small and medium size. They are much easier for me to handle. I am able to park by the door, get a cart from just inside the door and take the load to the elevator which is only a few feet from the door. The same goes for getting off on the next floor up - just a few steps to my unit. It is really convenient.

I also went to Costco to get some prescriptions including the eye drops I need. They give me generic which aren't as effective as the brand name Pred Forte that I used for the cataracts. I guess the difference in the co-pay is from about $2 to $17+. I'd pay the difference but they don't carry it in stock and I always forget to ask for it ahead of time.

I picked up a couple of items at the grocery on my way home, and walking through the parking lot I took notice of all the SUV's, vans, wagons, sedans, etc. Costco had a Kia Soul on display today, and I'm sorry but that is the ugliest vehicle I've ever seen. The model was white with light gray graphics all over it. The graphics were not attached as most RV graphics are, but in the paint evidently. The design and placement was awful, and I can't imagine what they were thinking. I don't care much for graphics to begin with and have often thought if I could order a brand new RV from the factory I would insist on "No Graphics". For one thing, I don't like full body paint, and the tape-on graphics fade in the sunlight and weather, and eventually pull loose. As in previous comments I've made, I will say this is my opinion only, and I know I'm in the minority.

On our trip I am allotting two-thirds of the cab behind the passenger seat to Lady. Poor thing, she will barely have enough room to stand up and turn in circles once in a while. I'll try to stop periodically so we can both stretch, but it's painful sometimes to see her hesitate to jump back up into the cab. I'll also need to figure out a way to keep the cargo behind the driver's seat from falling over on her when I turn a corner I normally carry a set of heavy duty jumper cables and my small toolbox on that side, but will need to add more for the trip - I'll try to make it something soft.

The cheap $25 air mattress I bought at Walmart when I sold my house & furniture in 2008 has served me well once again. It is really comfortable to sleep on and I don't have a backache or any other kind of ache when I get up. I do miss my good mattress and springs though. I have thought about it a lot, and come to the conclusion I wish I could live full time in an RV again, but I don't want to do it alone. So that leaves me with traveling in a far different manner, as well as finding a semi-permanent place to live when I stop for a while.

I never did like Mick Jagger, but I did like one song of his, and I used to sing it to my kids (made them mad as hell when I did) when they kept saying "I want this" and "I want that". You can't always get what you want...you get what you need.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A super clean engine

I had cleaning and detailing under the hood of my truck today. I'd have had the entire truck washed and detailed except that it would not stay that way for very long on a cross country trip. Ever since I volunteered at Lassen Volcanic National Park a couple of years ago I have had problems with rodents getting under the hood. I believe I blogged once before about mice or chipmunks chewing insulation and they are at it wherever I go. Someone told me that I need to have that area detailed to get rid of the odor as well as droppings, so today I did just that. I think I will go to a Ford dealer and see what it would cost to have the insulation replaced - it's just a cover for something, and I'm not sure what, but you can see where something chewed away at it for nesting material. I know everything in the universe has a place and is necessary, but I can't stand any kind of rodent, and I'd happily see them all be carried off in a space ship.

Now I'm looking for a new sheepskin cover for the driver's seat. My old one got really tired ad dingy looking so I took it off, but I miss having it. I believe the prices have jumped since I last bought one, but I might as well be comfortable.

I won't be getting rid of my old dog, although I admit the idea sounds tempting sometimes. I love having a pet and it is company and consolation for me, but as an astute reader commented, she adds to my stress level. That is an understatement - she causes a lot of my stress level. She doesn't mean to though, and as far as being a good dog, she is just about all an older person alone could ask for. She doesn't need a lot of exercise or play, and is large enough to be a sort of protection - not that she is a guard dog by any means, but just looking at her makes a lot of people nervous. Hopefully anyone thinking to do me harm will be nervous.

I still don't have a clue where I'll be staying on the east coast or for how long i'll be in any one place. It sometimes bothers me to not know, but that's the way I've always done things and it has always worked out for me. Doesn't make me any less nervous in the "just before" stage though. I don't mind having a general idea of where I would like to go, but couldn't stand being tied down to a plan. I won't even know the route I'm taking until I leave. I was thinking today about should I go up I-80 through Reno, or take US 50 to Lake Tahoe/Carson City/Fernley and reach I-80 that way. I favor the US 50 route, although I don't look forward to the traffic around Lake Tahoe, but the stunning view of the lake when it comes into sight is breathtaking, and it may be the last time I'll get to see it. I never liked Reno anyway.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just have to keep on keepin' on

I got a few things accomplished in the packing and cleaning department today, but not much. My oven is clean so I won't be using it again, and all but one small pan is in a box, so I won't be cooking much.

Thanks to everyone who has given me suggestions on how to find housing back east. I wrote several emails asking about pets and got shot down on all them. I think Lady is the determining factor on what I will do and where I will go. There are lots of folks I want to visit along the east coast from NY to NC and heading west through KY, but unfortunately I'm not welcome to take her anyplace. No one wants an 85# shedding machine around. I am beginning to realize that the 5th wheel best suited traveling with a pet, but I wouldn't want to go back to that particular 5th wheel again, nor any other one for that matter.

I read an interesting comment recently on a forum about Lance truck campers and the propensity of the front windows in that camper to leak. It usually requires removing the window, cleaning all the residue from all surfaces inside and out, laying new putty tape, resetting the window, and then caulking. The poster remarked that he never had a problem with leaking in the windshield of his Chevy, or any other windows for that matter. Of course people like to talk about the stress and flex going down the highway, but hey, that Chevy is leading the train and it surely takes some flex and stress. I'm beginning to wonder if RV's aren't shoddily made (and it seems to make no difference what manufacturer or price you pay) just because they can do it and still get buyers.

I don't want to deal with the problems anymore, but still want to travel and drive down the "other road" if I feel like it. I need to figure out how I can do it without having to get another RV with all their built-in problems. I think maybe there is no way. Any way I look at it, it would be so much easier without a dog.

Having said all that, it is still my plan to drive east and I'll just face and deal with the issues as I come to them. I will probably only stay at my son's house in NY for a couple of weeks since I can't afford the kennel rates, nor do I want to leave Lady wondering if I'll be back for her.

One final observation today is that we've all gone through paring down our possessions in order to fit into an RV. I myself did a wonderful job back in 2008 of getting rid of things I didn't really need, and I simplified my life to a great extent. One year in an apartment shoots that all to hell, I can tell you. I still haven't accumulated as much as I could have, but I'm wondering what happened to me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Altered plans

So I'm back to the drawing board. I'll just drive my truck back east and see if I can sell it there. Meanwhile, the cure for the blues is to start making plans in another area, and I'm back to searching for housing in NY. I just can't seem to find what I'm looking for, not even a web site that comes close. Wow, houses are expensive to rent there, and few allow large pets. I qualify for 55+ housing, but they only accept small dogs, if any. I don't understand it because my dog is quiet so you wouldn't even know she is there, whereas I've yet to see a small dog that doesn't bark at everything and everyone.

I've even thought about staying in NY for a few weeks, and then going south to maybe somewhere in rural Virginia for temp housing. Trouble is, when you mention temp quarters in a google search they think you mean corporate housing within commuting distance of Washington DC.

I'm looking at something out toward the Shenandoah - Front Royal, Harrisonburg, Winchester, even something in that little corner of West Virginia that lies between Virginia and Maryland. If any readers are in that area, please give me a hint. I had hoped rural would be a little cheaper, and the closer I am to I-81 the better. I'm looking for a 1+ bedroom, and would also be interested in a single wide or double wide in a rural area. I just don't know how to search for it.

I'd even rent in DC if I could find something reasonable and in a relatively safe area, although that would cost more than I want to pay.

I probably shouldn't make plans too far out because I will probably need a cornea transplant in the other eye before long.

I'm making good headway at filling boxes for storage, but every flat surface in the apt. is covered with junk that I don't know what to do with, or that I might take with me. I should really get down to work except that I'm going to my youngest son's house tomorrow morning, and we are going to make goetta. If you aren't of German extraction or from central/southern Ohio, you won't know that goetta is a delicious food that you slice and fry, and usually it is served with eggs (in place of bacon or sausage). My mother-in-law, who made the best in the whole world, always used pork and beef. Joe and I try different meats - once we used bison, and tomorrow we're going to try lamb.

I cooked myself a wonderful supper tonight - probably the last I will fix in this apartment. But when I went back for seconds my elbow hit a wine glass that was on the counter, and it shattered all over the kitchen floor. You win some, you lost some.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Some things work and some don't

After spending the morning looking at and driving several vehicles, I settled on the one I wanted. But it turns out that when I ran the Kelly blue book figures for my truck, I must have selected "Retail" rather than trade-in, so of course I thought I'd be getting more than what Enterprise could pay for the truck. I would have had to finance at least a small amount, which I had determined not to do. So the deal is off.

I really wanted the vehicle I had in mind, and it's tempting to take out a short term loan plus a couple of thousand from my savings, but then I would be acting in opposition of another message I'm getting. That is, don't do it. I'm going to follow my intuition on this one, but I'm really sad about it.

It looks like I'll be heading east in my Ford truck about 25 days from now. Every stop at the diesel pump is going to make the trip less of a fun adventure and more costly. There is a reason for everything under the sun, and there's a reason for this setback.

I want to thank everyone who wrote and was so supportive. I also thank all the spirits who watch over me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The down side

I thought today was going fairly well - Donald and Jeannie helped me move my furniture and the boxes I had packed into my truck and over the few blocks to the storage unit. When we got the first load upstairs to the unit, we found that the manager hadn't taken their lock off the door, so we couldn't get in. On Sunday there is no one in the office, so I called a different number and reached a customer service rep. She promised to try to arrange someone to come over and help me out, and about 20 minutes later I recognized a guy who worked in the office. It turned out he was there for a different reason, but he was able to take the lock off my unit, and we eventually got everything moved in.

I decided to go ahead and move the mattress and springs today since I might not have my truck long, and they are too large to move in Don's van or whatever I might buy. I have an air mattress I used in Asheville when my furniture was taken away, and I figured it would work just as well this time. I have a different vacuum cleaner now, and the hose on this one doesn't blow air out, it just sucks it in. So I have doubled over a comforter thinking I can sleep on it tonight, but am beginning to wonder about doing that - I surely won't get a good night's sleep, and I have to be at Enterprise tomorrow at 9:30 am.

One of my sons called me and gave me a lot of good reasons why I shouldn't rush into buying anything tomorrow. He thought (and rightly so) that I didn't wait long enough between selling the 5ver and buying the truck camper, and doesn't want to see me make another mistake. So I'm torn now, and I know in the end I will do what I want to do, but it adds to the confusion and stress, and I'm not even going to be able to get a good night's sleep.

Even with all the things we moved today, I still have an overwhelming amount of items to pack and move, and the truck to clean out. Then I will begin trying to clean this place so I can turn in the keys. I'll be getting dog hair out of the carpet for a week!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Busy Saturday

First thing this morning I signed the paperwork for renting the storage unit, and will begin moving things over tomorrow.

I then drove to Enterprise Rentals and Car Sales. They offer no-haggle prices, which suits me fine because I hate to haggle. They also take trade ins at Blue Book value + $500, I explained to the salesman what I had in mind and he zeroed right in on what I could afford and come out even between the trade in and the purchase price, with no need to finance. At this stage of my life I'm not financing anything! Actually the last time I didn't pay cash for a car was in 1982 when I went back into the work force and bought a 1982 Toyota Tercel.

The salesman is super and there was absolutely no pressure to buy.

I didn't want to rush into anything today, so we set an appointment for Monday morning when I will come in and we will go out to Roseville Enterprise to get the car, and I can drive it back. OMG, I've been thinking all along that I would have him drive back to Rancho Cordova, because I avoid Roseville like the plague. Unbelievable traffic! But if he drives me out there, he will have to drive back, and I will have to drive the vehicle I hope to buy. Oh lord help me. I'm doing a lot better now, but I still don't like to drive in areas that I don't know very well and at times of heavy traffic. Watch for my blog on Monday evening and I'll let you know how I did!

I won't jinx anything by telling you what it is I'm going to look at, but suffice to say it is something I never gave a thought to. I realize that the only way I can even think about certain SUV's would require me to either pay way more than I want to, or to buy direct from a seller, which I don't want to do. If this particular vehicle works out for me it will accommodate me, my gear and luggage, and Lady. What more can I ask.

I think my future is calling for a big change and I'm going to jump right into it, just as I jumped into a totally different and unknown future when I bought my truck and 5th wheel. I can handle change. And if things don't work out this time, I still can drive my truck until I can do something else. Donald washed it for me and it looks gorgeous.

On this photo the tailgate looks smeary but in reality it isn't. I can't figure out what could have made it look that way in the picture, except for glare and reflection. It is as shiny as the rest of the truck.

The sun and glare don't allow me to take very good pictures this time of day, but the trees are reflected in the surface of the truck. What a beauty she is, and I hope she is appreciated by whoever ends up buying her.

Now, I have lots of packing to do, but I did want to mention something about Class B's. I've had several comments wondering why I haven't considered a Class B. Well, #1 is that they are expensive. And there is still the normal RV type problems, maintenance, etc. I guess if I could afford a new Pleasure Way or Roadtrek I might think about it, but really I don't want anything to do with Atwood, Dometic, Norcold, or the lot. I'll just stick to what I know and can do basic maintenance on - Coleman.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Getting my truck ready

I got new tires on the front today, plus replaced the driver's side tie-rod end, and had an alignment. I only understand the tire part! Plus I got new premium wiper blades and they lubricated the brake pedal. I was noticing a moan sometimes when I hit the brake pedal, so one of the techs drove around the parking lot with me and thought it might be the pedal itself. They assured me the brakes look fine. I love dealing with Les Schwab because they don't take advantage of you and try to sell you service you don't need, such as many car dealers do. Asheville Dodge (where I bought my Grand Cherokee) would have solemnly told me, "Yep, it sounds like the brakes are bad".

The buyer of my camper paid me my full asking price, but he didn't need the truck. He said he had a couple of friends who were interested, so he went over the truck with a fine-toothed comb, taking pictures of everything. Then he proceeded to tell me all the things that would have to be done to bring it up to par - like the front bumper needs repainting (there is a small patch that was scraped off), there's a ding here and a dent there, etc. Then he mentioned some ridiculously low price that I might be looking for, so I set him straight on that and haven't yet heard from any of his friends. This truck is a work horse, and she's been "rode hard and put away wet"! In my estimation she proves her worth every day.

One of the techs at Les Schwab said a friend of his was looking to upgrade from a F-150, so I told him the lowest price I would accept and said that I'm leaving for the east in exactly one month. I really don't want to have to deal with rushing to get something else to drive, but at least I know the interest is there. The odometer just went over 92k, and it is a joy to drive. While I was waiting I chatted with another woman who was having 2 new tires put on her Prius. She told me she gets 51 mpg. I think with the hybrids the city mileage is a bit higher than the highway mileage, and 51 in the city ain't half bad. I wonder how I would squeeze Lady in and still have room for anything else.

I'm gratified by all the positive comments I've received, and I hope to take a trip worth writing about. This has been a stressful but terrific week, that is ending on a good note. That makes me feel I'm on the right track.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Boxes everywhere!

It is getting so that I can't walk a straight line from room to room in this small apartment, nor can I make my way easily from the front door to the end of the patio. I know this will all be resolved soon, but it would drive me crazy if I wasn't a laid-back person to begin with. I am planning to go ahead and rent the storage space as of this weekend, and at least I can start moving boxes from here to there, giving me room to set up more boxes. As far as I'm concerned, the boys can start moving the furniture as well. I remember when my house in NC was empty of furniture for a couple of weeks before I left, and I had to sleep on an air mattress, so I know I can deal with it.

You may notice that I have no header picture today. I tried to load one but was informed by Blogger that is wasn't in the proper format. It's the same kind of format as every other header I've used, so I don't know what the problem is.

I sold the Lance, and I feel a lot of worries off my shoulders now. There will be those who think I should have given it more of a try, but I feel that since I had what could have been two fatal accidents before I even got back home, I don't need any more warnings or messages from the Universe. Duh, what could possibly be next. I know I did the right thing so I'm happy about it.

Now what to do about the truck. I could sell it and maybe get a more economical SUV, but I need to get to NY in May and I don't need to be stressed about selling and buying in the meantime. I might sell it in NY or somewhere on the east coast.

So there you have it - I am giving up all ideas about continuing the full time or even part time RV lifestyle. That doesn't mean my traveling days are over, and I hope to go on traveling back and forth across this gorgeous country until I die. But I will just have to find the way that suits me best, and I'm not discounting another small trailer or RV. It's just right now I'm going to take a break from it.

So how do I plan to get to NY? In my mind I can see myself staying at a campground one night and then maybe at a motel the next. I'm not crazy about the idea of motels, but I can at least watch a bit of TV and take a good shower. If the weather is good I might stay more in campgrounds, whereas if it is looking like rain or other non-camping weather, then I will opt for a motel. Now I have to think about how to organize my truck bed to carry what I need. If I could find an inexpensive used truck cap I would go for it, but otherwise I will just figure something out and I'm not going to get too worried about it.

The blog. What do I do about it? I know many readers will drop off, as many probably have so far since I'm not posting every day. That is understandable, and I thank everyone who has stayed with me so faithfully - left me your comments, moral support and suggestions. I want to continue to document my travels, so I will write something as I go along, and hopefully take a lot of pictures. I'm excited about getting back to the east, which is where I started out and which will always be "back home" to me.

So if you drop me off your list then au revoir and thanks for being with me for a while. If you decide to check back from time to time, I hope I have something worthwhile to write. It is my intention (and I hope my eyesight cooperates) to leave Sacramento in exactly one month and make the trip I've always wanted from California to the east coast.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Get out the maps!

I'm probably being a bit premature, but I got all my maps and trip plans out this evening for a boost to my enthusiasm. Maps never seem to fail me, and yeah, I know Streets & Trips, Mapquest, Google Maps, and whatever are just fine and dandy. But I like to lie back on the couch, head propped up with pillows, and unfold my beautiful wonderful paper maps, following my possible route across the country. Let's see, I could turn off here, take this byway and drive over to here, etc, etc, etc. After a while I set the maps down, folded my arms and got comfortable, closed my eyes, and I was soon dreaming my trip!

I have boxes all over the house, and have so many more to pack. The chaos kind of gets to me, and I remember getting rid of my stuff from the house in NC and packing up a "few" things to put into storage. I didn't think I would ever see daylight with that move, and I feel the same way right now. But I know it will all come together, and I can live with the clutter and the mess for a couple more weeks. This morning I spent several hours shredding paper, but the big plastic tub with file folders still feels as heavy as it did before I started. I would like to reprint something I received from my brother today, and I think you will enjoy it as well.


A young engineer was leaving the office at 5:45 p.m. when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand. "Listen," said the CEO, "this is a very sensitive and important document, and my secretary is not here. Can you make this thing work?"

"Certainly," said the young engineer. He turned on the machine, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button. "Excellent, excellent!" said the CEO as his paper disappeared inside the machine, "I just need one copy."

Lesson: Never, ever assume that your boss knows what he's doing.

With every page I fed into my shredder I thought about this story, and wondered if I might ever need any of it again. Much of it consisted of statements from Blue Cross regarding what they were billed, what Medicare paid, and then another to tell me what they ended up paying. I could wallpaper a whole house every year with the papers they send me. I usually don't care for e-statements, at least from my bank, but I would sure prefer e-statements from Blue Cross. At least Medicare does it more sensibly and sends a summary every few months rather than all those individual papers. Can it be that the Government actually does something more efficiently and cost effective than a private company?

Hey, how did I get on that soap box when I'm in such a good and hopeful mood!

I think I'll wander over to Les Schwab tomorrow to see what it will cost me to have new tires put on the front on my truck. I replaced the duallies a couple of years ago and they are in good shape, but if I'm going to have to drive across the country I think I want new tires on the front. I'll see if I get any nibbles on the ad to sell both truck and camper, but if I don't have anything serious after a week's time I will have to plan for using it. What else can I do, although I want to throw up every time I look at the door to the propane tank! I'm just shy of 92k miles on my truck and I probably need to have something done, but it's running just beautifully and I think I'll just leave well enough alone.

After I posted the above, I was studying a website that features free and low cost camping. I was intrigued that there are many locations in Maryland - a lot of them are BJ's Warehouse parking lots. For those of you who hang around in the west exclusively, BJ's Warehouse is a membership store such as Costco or Sam's. If I lived in the east where they are fairly prevalent I would get a membership. But my question is has anyone ever stayed in one of their lots? I always hear about people stopping at Walmart, but would like to know how BJ's is for an overnight stop. They also have locations in New York but those aren't listed, so maybe there is a state reg that prevents overnight stays of RVs in store parking lots.

Also, FWIW, there are quite a few free camping places in Virginia, many going back to the days of the CCC. So while there might not be great expanses of BLM land, there is govt land to camp on at no or low cost.

Gotta get a move on

I still don't feel right but realize I'm going to just have to deal with it and start getting ready to move. My s-i-l picked me up this morning and we looked at two local places that have climate controlled storage. The one I think I'm going with is the one that I couldn't get in to last week when I stopped, but there were two people on duty today and one of them showed us several different units. The one I think I will take is an easy shot from outside - we can park by the door and the elevator is very close, as is the unit when we get off on the 4th floor. The building is on a hillside so that there are four levels that are sort of terraced, and very easy to get to. Also, we can drive in one gate and continue straight to the door, then swing around the building and out on Sunrise Blvd again - no need for parking, turning around in tight spots, etc. They will hold the unit for me for one month, and then the first month is free, although I will have to pay a $30 move-in charge - not bad for the 1st month's rent. They also offer free use of a uHaul truck for only the cost of the gas I would use. I think I can do it with my truck, which is how everything was moved over to begin with.

I'm glad Don was with me because he and my youngest son (Joe) will be doing the bulk of heavy lifting and moving for me, and he agreed that I could go with a smaller unit than the one I first thought I would need.

Now I've started to pack my belongings and have boxes sitting everywhere! This is a small apartment, and I believe I will have to move some of the boxes over to the storage at least a week before the furniture is moved, just to get it out of my way. I might even get everything cleared out by the last week in April so that I can systematically clean the place before vacating. I could run into a problem since Wes, the manager, has been replaced by a no-nonsense, by-the-book woman. Wes had told me I could stay an extra month, no problem and no extra $100 for the month-to-month fee. If she gives me any problems I will tell her I'm going to the County to see if there was ever an inspection for the mold and plumbing leak repair. If that doesn't give them pause to reflect, then I will certainly pay the county a visit. I hate to do something like that and I really hate to threaten, but in this case I've more than put up with crap - literally!

After we looked at storage units we then drove to the RV lot where my TC is stored. Donald had never seen it or been inside, and we had a good laugh when he stepped in to the bathroom and had to duck his head. I believe he's about 6'2" and he couldn't stand up straight! We looked at the window that needs repair and I explained what the Happy Daze RV folks had told me about re-setting the window. We ended up agreeing that I would try to sell the camper with the stipulation that I will reduce the price to generously cover the repair work needed. If I can't sell it and have to go to NY with it, then Don and Joe will get together one weekend and do the work.

We will mount the camper on my truck as soon as I move out of the apartment, and then I can clean and stock it leisurely while I'm at Jeannie & Donald's until May 13th. The one thing I worry about is squirrels finding their way into the camper, and all the trees around their house have what seem to be thousands of squirrels (of course I'm exaggerating a bit). I'm already starting to worry about what my hummingbirds will do when I'm gone. I've faithfully kept them in nectar all winter, and now there are a lot of new ones showing up. I am really looking forward to seeing the birds of the east again.

I was upset with Lady this morning when we went for our walk - she has a habit of crossing over in front of me with no warning, and would cross back and forth constantly if I let her have enough leash. Usually I make her stay on my left side and draw the leash up to where she can't go very far, but this morning she very nearly tripped me, and I had to struggle to regain my balance. My shins on both legs are scarred from when she tripped me a couple of years back, and if she ever does that again I'm not sure if I will keep her. I know the dog lovers out there don't like to hear that, but if I break a leg I'm not going to be able to take care of her anyway. She is so gentle and mellow that I cant imagine her driving me to that point, but it's her size that she seems to be unaware of. I got her when she was two years old, and for the next four years she was mostly off leash up in the wooded mountains, so she's never been a city dog, and I'm too laid back myself to make her stick to a rigid way of doing things. It's one reason we get along so well, but I hope it doesn't amount to her downfall.

I have enough to do this coming week and should probably start taking the iron supplements again, at least a couple times a week. I really dislike them, but I did notice an increase in energy and appetite when I started using them. Of course I was so down I had nowhere to go but up.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Not much going my way

This has been a week for me to stay out of action, and it's just as well because nothing I do turns out satisfactory.

I finally got in touch with the urgent care center I went to on March 26 to see if I could have Valley Fever. If you read my blog a week or so ago, you will know that I was so dehydrated they couldn't draw blood, so I was referred to a nearby lab which I went to a couple of days later. I was supposed to get a call from the med center when the results came in, but I had to call them this afternoon to find out the test was negative. The tech insisted they had called my phone several times to tell me that, but if they did it didn't show up on my Calls register. I hate it when people feel the need to lie about things like that.

So I don't have Valley Fever, and I've taken the entire Z-Pack. I feel better, and I can't eat enough to satisfy my appetite. But the deep cough is still there, although not as bad as it was.

I went out today to get a look at a storage facility just a few blocks away that has inside climate-controlled storage, although it would probably mean being on an upstairs floor and having to use an elevator. The doors were locked when I got there although the sign said they were open. The UPS delivery man came up and told me the company had just switched owners and the new management decided to save money and do away with all but one employee. That employee was obviously in another part of the building for the time I waited. The UPS guy and I talked trucks, and to say he admired my truck would be an understatement. I wish someone would look at me with that kind of lust! It is a sweet truck if I do say so.

I want to advertise the truck and camper but just haven't felt well enough to drag the generator over to the RV storage and try to charge up the battery. I want to sell them as a combo, but will sell separately although the camper has to go first. Maybe in another week I'll feel like dealing with it.

Meanwhile I've gotten organized and am trying to write down everything that will need to go into the storage, as well as how many boxes and their sizes. That one's a bit difficult to estimate, but at least I'm getting down to facing what needs to be done.

Meanwhile I've loaded up on books from the library and have been reading at an avid pace. I started out with a very heavy book called Outlander, a tale that takes place in Scotland before the English did them in completely. I liked the book and in fact ordered the next two in the series. When I went to pick them up I decided against it - one covers the period of the battle at Culloden - think Braveheart. Just too much violence for me, so I stocked up on light-hearted mysteries.

So now I'm 3 weeks and just a few days away from being homeless and I'm sitting around reading books. Procrastination is what it's called, and it's going to kick me in the rear end about the last week in April!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday morning mess

I poured my first cup of coffee this morning, and poured and poured and poured. And watched the level reach the top of the mug, waver an instant, and then run over on to the counter top. I can't say I wasn't wide awake, as I had already walked Lady which is first order of business each day. I was just mesmerized as I watched the level of coffee in the mug. I used to watch my kids when they insisted on pouring their own milk or kool-aid, and they sometimes did the same thing - watch it run right up to the top and then over, and still they poured. I wondered then, as I wonder now, whatever is that person thinking.

So with such a good start to the day and the week, I proceeded to set up a large box and pack it with linens. Everything fit perfectly, except for what I have in the camper that will probably have to be included eventually.

It is difficult to explain to someone who is unconnected to the situation, but I sometimes have bad dreams about that camper. You can draw your own conclusions, as I've drawn mine. Dizzy Dick wondered in a comment yesterday if I would post my blog when I leave for the east. The answer is a resounding HELL YEAH! I'll make my way around the country and eventually be back in Sacramento, but I need a change of scenery right about now. And I'm not certain what I'll be driving, but I hope it's something that gets better fuel mileage than a 1 ton pickup diesel with dually wheels.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Making a start

It lurks constantly at the back of my mind that I need to be packed up and moved out of this apartment by the end of April. I have no idea where I will move to, whether I will need to find a storage for my small amount of furniture and belongings, or what I am going to do. What I really look forward to is my check up by the eye surgeon on Thursday, May 12th, and leaving Sacramento for points east on Friday May 13th. Fortunately 13 has always been a lucky number for me, and Friday the 13th has always been a good day, so that is when I will leave.

I still don't feel like doing a thing, but since I needed to get a few groceries in, I decided to go to a nearby uHaul location to get some packing boxes. I came away with 3 large and 1 medium, for starters. Now I must figure out how I will pack them and more importantly, what in the world will I do with the packed boxes! But at least I've made a start, and I hope the antibiotics I'm on will bring me back to full life in the next few days so I can get started.

It's ironic how good a planner I have always been, very organized and efficient. Living and traveling in an RV for a couple of years led me to disregard all planning, except for when I had volunteer work jobs lined up, so now I don't know where to begin. Can the plans for moving from an apartment (to god only knows where) be written in jello?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Now for a restful weekend

I'm back from the doctor and from Costco pharmacy. I have bronchitis and started on the Z-Pack just now, so I will start to feel better soon. The doctor said that what the xray showed wasn't consistent with Valley Fever - it "didn't have the look" of a fungal infection. That's all I wanted to know, and now I can forget about it. I certainly would never go back to Quest Labs for a blood test again - I still haven't heard the results.

I was worried about the bridge traffic on Sunrise Blvd just before turning to where I live, but although it was starting to get heavy I beat the worst of it. Dog has been walked and I'm debating on whether to nap before I eat or vice versa.

All the gas stations I passed today show diesel to be about $4.50 a gallon. You can imagine what that is doing to the cost of products that must be shipped to the stores. It's all the more reason to buy local, and maybe the cost of an online purchase isn't that much cheaper when you figure in the shipping & handling.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend.

Still awaiting test results

I haven't any word yet on the test for Valley Fever, and I can't imagine why any test these days can't be run faster than this one. I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow, and maybe by then we will know about the blood test results. My chest congestion and cough are much worse and don't show any signs of abating, so I think I need a diagnosis - is it bronchitis or what. Donald's mom and my sister both have pneumonia, but I've had that often enough to know the feeling and symptoms, and I definitely don't have pneumonia yet. I am avoiding people as much as possible until I know if I'm contagious, and I've missed several family gatherings with all the grandchildren as well as a niece visiting from Florida.

The reason I was so dehydrated last week was that I just couldn't fix a meal to eat, and that is when I usually drink a lot of water - with meals. I had mentioned that to Jeannie a few days ago, and the next day Donald came by with meals he had cooked for me, so I'm dining in style now! I can tell an immediate improvement in my overall health as well, not that I'm feeling great, but when I feel bad past a certain point I don't eat, and then I don't even care if I eat. That can be a big problem, and I realize now how true it is that you can go for a long time without food but only a short time without water. I did manage to drink my coffee in the mornings, which made the dehydration even worse, but at least now I'm back on an even keel. Thanks God for blessing my daughter with a wonderful husband, and me a wonderful son-in-law.

Donald thought he could smell mold when he stopped in with the food, but when Jeanne came by today to take me to my eye doctor appointment, she couldn't tell. They both said I could come and stay at their house, which I hope I don't have to do yet. I have exactly one month to get things boxed up and ready to move into storage, and I can do it best if I'm living here.

I had forgotten that there were still three small stitches in my cornea, and Dr. G. removed two of them today. What a difference in my eyesight. Not quite good yet, but he is really pleased with my progress and will remove the last of the stitches on my next visit in 6 weeks. As soon as that is taken care of I hope to leave for New York.

If I can depart Sacramento in mid-May that will leave me homeless for two weeks, so maybe I will stay with Donald and Jeannie at that time. They should get their fill of me and my dog in a couple of weeks.

The thermometer topped 80F today, and was just about perfect. Tomorrow will be another day above 80, and then it will go back to the 70's for a while, which is ideal for me.