Saturday, March 7, 2009
As you all know, because of major safety and security issues on St. Kitts and differences that could not be easily resolved between the PC and it's older volunteers, I returned to the States on January 20th to resume my normal life. Ha!
Major problem was that my house in Wilmington is rented for the next year and a half. Wonderful friends and son stepped forward and allowed me to bunk in their spare bedrooms for a few days and even a few weeks at a time, but of course, I couldn't continue living out of my car and a suitcase. So what options did I have? Well, I could rent a furnished apartment and stay in Wilmington; I could rent a furnished apartment anywhere I wanted and stay there. But hey, why stay in one place when the option of trying out new places is available just by driving and taking your furnished home with you? How cool is that?!
So I decided I would become part of the very large, full-time RVer bunch. First I did a lot of checking on the web to see what I thought I would like best. Fell in love with Airstreams but couldn't get over the fact that I would have to trade the Cruiser in for a truck, learn how to hook and unhook and pull a 6,000 trailer behind me. So started looking for what is known as Class C's. These are drive inside, turn-around and walk into your living space. Rated extremely safe for women traveling alone. My first choice was a Winnebago, the oldest and still considered the best-made coach on the road. (They're manufactured in Iowa and made one-at-a-time.) I knew I didn't want to buy a brand-new model as wasn't willing to pay the depreciation as soon as I drove it off the lot. So started in looking on-line for a used, Winnebago, Class C Minnie Winnie but soon realized I needed to see what all was out there by attending the Spring RV shows. So....
I packed up the Cruiser and headed to Charlotte. Thanks to my wonderful friends, Rich and Sandy, for once again hosting me in their lovely home. The RV show was fairly small and I didn't find anything I really liked, but I did meet a very nice dealer from Hickory. So headed out one bright, cool morning and made my way to Carolina Coaches. Took a good look at what they had and still wasn't thrilled, so......
....I headed West to St. Louis. My dear friend Ellen invited me to stay with her and attend their much bigger RV show the coming weekend. Easy drive and how fun to be invited one night over to my high school buddy, Carol's, for a great dinner and to meet all her friends. Ellen and I had a great time attending the show and especially checking out the $250,000+ 'pushers' which are HUGE and have everything from fireplaces, granite countertops, massive flatscreen TVs to washers and dryers! A little out of my price range and when I sat behind the wheel of one, I was totally intimidated! All that glass - I felt like I was driving a Greyhound bus - and they're just as long. Just a wee bit bigger than I needed. But we did see a couple of really nice Class C's, including several Winnebago's. We visited a couple of dealerships but still didn't find my perfect home.
One of things I did when I decided this was what I wanted to do, was contact my good friends and our old neighbors from MN, Al & Sue. They have RV'd for many years and knew they would be an excellent resource. Al suggested I check out the RV dealerships in Tucson and low and behold, prices were much, much lower West of the Mississippi. So when they said 'come on out' I once again headed West.
With a night in Weatherford, OK and another night in Las Cruces, NM (Al had me take the little known, but beautiful, 4-lane, Hwy 70 out of Amarillo, across the the mountains into Las Cruces.) Perfect day, top down, even when I saw snow still lingering under the trees at the top (6000 feet). Sue and Al winter in Voyager's RV Resort. They have a beautiful home (with a very nice den/guest room) and welcomed me with open arms though we hadn't seen each other in 9 years. Al directed me to 3 of the largest RV dealerships in Tucson. How fun! But a great saleswoman at LaMesa told me about a 29' Minnie Winnie they had just taken in on trade at their Yuma location. We looked at pictures online and 'she' looked perfect. They offered to have the rig driven up to Tucson for me to see - and it was love at first sight!
So with a few days of lots of paperwork, the detailing and repairs of any all little things that needed fixing, I took off for Phoenix and a visit with my cousin Nancy and her husband Tom. How great that her sister, Rita, was visiting from CO, so we 3 cousins had a blast catching-up and shopping.
Yesterday I took possession of my very first and very own 'mobile home.' I spent 2 hours doing a walk-through with LaMesa's tech guy. I took copious notes and pictures and do I remember anything? It was total overload and when I pulled out of their drive and drove across the street to spend 2 nights in the big campground directly across the street, I swear I forgot everything.
I managed to check-in, find my spot and not hit anyone or thing when I parked. Then came the hooking-up of the electric, the water, the TV, finding the switches for city water, water pump, pushing out the 2 slides (living room and bedroom). Thank goodness for nice 'neighbors' as I didn't know you had to throw a switch for the electricity once you plugged-in and could not remember where the water connection was. Between my fellow-campers and surprise, the instruction manual, I managed to get everything running. The next few hours were spent unpacking and finding places to store all the 'stuff' I had to buy to equipment my new house. After a late dinner, I fell exhausted into bed and lay and listened to all the new sounds I will have to get used to. In the middle of the night the temperature dropped into the high 50's so had to figure out how to turn on the heat. Blowers are loud but the coach warmed up nicely and I went back to sleep until the sun came up at 5:30 a.m.
After breakfast, Al and Sue came over and we ran to Camping World (the RVer's answer to everything camping.) We picked up a few little items I was still missing and needed and then Al and I had a long talk about 'dumping.' You do not want to know the details - neither did I, though I realize it's something I will learn to do - yucky - if I want to keep my home sweet smelling and operating correctly.
It's a little after 1:30 p.m. and here I sit- sun shinning, watching golf on cable, thinking about what to have for lunch and loving being in my own space once again. Tomorrow, depending on the wind forecast (a biggie you have to take into consideration when you're driving a big, flat box down the highway) I will head out on my first road trip - from Tucson to the Florida Keys! Good friends Laura and John finally bought their dream, retirement home and invited me down for a visit. Laura took pictures of their driveway to show me that it's plenty big enough for me to park!
So off we go - again. I hope you enjoy the ride!