Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Rainy Days and Big Decisions

There is a saying in the RV world that goes ...

Buy your last RV first

When we found the Wildebeest in 2014, we thought that we had done just that. She had everything on our "wish list". She was a high quality older rig that was in our price range. She had a comfortable living space. And at 40 feet long, she had the amount of storage that I thought I would need to carry all my "stuff" required to live full time on the road.

And with her bright colors, we were sure to never lose her in the mass of RVs in campgrounds! We fondly named her the Wildebeest because of her "wild berry" color and because of her migratory nature that is similar to her African animal namesake.

Our migratory travels in the Wildebeest have taken us south in the winter and back to Minnesota in the summer. We have spent time in many amazing areas. We have settled into the RV lifestyle. And we have discovered something very surprising to us ... We discovered that we have more space than we need, and that "extra space" has sometimes prevented us from being more "nimble" in our travels.

Since one doesn't park a 40 foot RV just anywhere, we have felt the need to make our travel plans and reservations several months in advance. In the last few years, there have been several travel opportunities such as sailing in the BVI and traveling to Colombia, South America that didn't include the Wildebeest. We started to think about how good it would feel to be able to be more spontaneous with our travels. We also wrestled with the idea of being able to live in a smaller space.

What we are striving to become ...

We have tossed around this idea for the last year. Doug has done extensive research on "camper-vans". We have sought advice from many of our RV friends ... Thanks! We have come around to the idea of "downsizing" to a Class B such as the Winnebago Travato. At 21 feet long, it is easier to drive, maneuvers better on narrow roads, and don't require as much advance planning in order to find an overnight parking spot.

We also have thought about what possessions we really need and what we can do without. We have continued to give away the items that we don't use or need.

Happy that Joanne could adopt our "coffee" table!

During our month long stay at Gulf State Park, we had a few rainy days to seriously think and pray about this decision. We both feel that the increased simplicity and nimbleness outweigh the decreased living space, therefore ...

We have decided to go from Class B "wannabees" to "owners" in 2019.

So during those rainy days, we put our beloved Wildebeest up for sale. Pictures were taken, ads were placed on Craigslist and RV Trader, and the "For Sale" sign was posted.

Although it feels good to have made the decision, some uncertainties still remain.
  • Should we sell her before we go to Colombia for the winter?
  • Should we store her for the winter?
  • Should we look into RV consignment?
  • Should we just trade her in when we get our new RV?
  • Should we buy our new rig in Florida or up north?
  • Will we be OK with less than half the living space... and half the stuff that we have now??
For the answers to these and other questions, stay tuned to RVentures. And, as always, we appreciate any wisdom you can share with us!

In the meantime ...
Does anyone want to buy an RV???

Here is the link to our ad ... feel free to pass it anyone who may be interested in a well maintained and much loved 2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom.

I know that I couldn't have downsized to the level of a Class B camper-van when we began RVentures. During our first four years, we have had great RVing experiences and have learned a lot.

We have learned to appreciate wherever RVentures take us.

Until next time ... remember that it takes rainy days to appreciate the sunshine ... and enjoy all the adventures in your life!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thankful for Everyday Blessings

"A thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us."
James E Faust

We cherish the memories of past Thanksgiving gatherings with our sons and other family members when we were living in Minnesota ... wonderful memories of family gathered around the dining room table decorated with colors to match the brilliant autumn foliage.

Since we began our full time travels in 2015, we have celebrated this holiday differently each year depending where we are and who we are with. Although we no longer have the seasonal decorations or an oven big enough to fit a twenty pound turkey, one thing stays the same ...

We continue to be thankful for the everyday blessings that surround us.

The blessing of God's beautiful
creatures that we meet on our beach walks.

The blessing of my handy man and
his "consultant" figuring out the best way
to keep the Wildebeest in tip-top shape.

The blessing of pickleball, volleyball,
and beach-walking friends.

The blessing of laughter with friends
while enjoying Bingo and Bushwhackers
on a rainy afternoon.

This November marked our fourth Thanksgiving on the road. Doug's cousin Debbie and Ron, who live near our current location of Gulf Shores, invited us over to their beautiful home to share the Thanksgiving meal.

We are thankful for the blessing of new Thanksgiving memories that each year brings.

The blessing of our vigilant
"turkey scrap" monitor, Frisco.

The blessing of a full plate of
turkey, cranberries, and
pecan-topped sweet potatoes.

The blessing of the most delicious
carrot cake EVER!!
I have to share the amazing story behind this culinary work of art. The delectable carrot cake was lovingly made by a talented chef who will never be able to enjoy the taste of any of her creations. Ron's stepmom, Cheryl, successfully battled oral cancer four years ago. The treatment, however, left her unable to eat anything by mouth. She is dependent on tube feeds for her nutrition. Despite this hardship, Cheryl continues to share her love of cooking with those around her. I cherish the blessing of being able to get to know this strong, beautiful and generous woman!

Multitudes of blessings!

We are thankful for God's greatest blessing ... 
the blessing of friendship of those around us
and all of you who follow our journey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time ... Cherish your multitude of blessings ... and enjoy the adventures in your life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Gulf State Park: Entertainment At Its Best

The sparkle of the white sandy beaches have welcomed us back to one of our favorite "homes" ... Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Their campground has large full hook-up sites and is surrounded by bike paths that quickly lead us to their pristine beach on the Gulf of Mexico. We are once again spending the month of November enjoying biking and beach time with our RV buddies, Joanne and Gary.

The beauty of this area seems to grow more special each year. As we bike over the new pedestrian bridge, we see so many improvements to a park that was devastated in the past by hurricanes and oil spills. Yes, for us, a visit to Gulf State Park is the:


Our entertainment came in the form of:

wild gopher tortoise searches,

... and even wilder pickle ball moves.

Entertaining activities like biking, volleyball, beach walking and pickle ball were fueled by:

ice cream near the bike path,

... a "bush wacker" along the beach,

... and a "chili" dinner beside a warm fire.

New ideas were entertained:

... during walks along the beach,

... at Big Beach Brewery's
trivia night,

... and while just hanging out
with a friend.

The Best Entertainment Anyone Can Have:

... is found in the smiles of the
wonderful "beach bums" we call "friends".

Until next time ... be entertained by all the fun people around you ... and enjoy the adventures in your life.