Friday, April 01, 2011

SOME RAMBLING THOUGHTS ON THE RV LIFESTYLE AND..... PLANNING AHEAD

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ALL OF TONIGHT'S PHOTOS WERE TAKEN LATE THIS AFTERNOON DOWN AROUND THE BAYFIELD HARBOR

One of the very first signs of Spring in snow country are the sounds of dripping water.  Unless you are a winter person this is truly music to the ears.  Whoever thought a drip could make somebody’s day.  So, it was with the sounds of dripping water that I focused on today & shoveled more snow away from the driver’s side of the Moto Home in an attempt to access the driver’s side bins.
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There was some discussion & comments in Blogland about a month ago in regards to some RVing folks thinking about buying property.  And, that would include us as well.  I had thoughts about all that at the time & wrote a post about it.  We were on the move as I recall so I put that post on the shelf for ‘later.’  Well, it is now 'later' so time to dust off that post.  It does tie in a bit with my Thursday post.

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THAT BROWN MOUND ON TOP OF THE PIER IS WAVE FORMED ICE WITH A TOPPING OF SAND

Another RV couple wrote a post with some thoughts about buying property in the Southwest & as I recall, some of the feedback had a negative tone to it.  It seems some individuals just don’t get it & that is perfectly normal.  I don’t get a lot of stuff either.  I don’t understand what the big deal is about texting, tweeting or Justin Bieber so that’s where I am coming from. 

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THAT IS A LAKE HURON CROCODILE REARING UP OUT OF THE WATER ON THE RIGHT

There are folks out there who do not understand the RV Lifestyle, period!!  Most are safe & secure in their own way of life at home & are happy with life just the way it is.  I understand that & have gone through those phases & stages of life as well.

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 AWWW NUTS, I JUST DROPPED THE WORMS!!!!
Neither Kelly or I ever want to spend another winter in Canada. (yes, I know I have said that a hundred times) We have seen the advantages of an alternate winter lifestyle in the Southwest & there is no voluntarily going back to the winter lifestyle we have been a part of for over 60 years. 

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SAILBOAT MASTS AWAIT THEIR SUMMER SAILBOATS

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FISHING BOATS AWAIT ANOTHER DAY ON THE LAKE 

We try to be forward thinking people & with the way things are going in the world & prices on most things steadily rising we can’t just stick our heads in the sand & pretend that everything is joyous & lovely when in reality it is not.

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Nope, nothing to do with being negative but everything to do with being realistic.
Just like our dogs & Motor Home, we are aging.  Changes are occurring within us that are going to affect future plans & decisions.   We are trying to realistically set things in place for the coming years.  Have you noticed there are very few posts from RV’ers talking about their future plans when the RV lifestyle finally comes to an end.  It seems few people want to face the fact that at some point this RV life will be over for each & every one of us.  No if’s & but’s about it.  No exceptions!!

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WINTER'S ICE IS BREAKING UP 

There are many reasons RV folks are forced to hang up their keys.  For Canadians it may be the high cost of personal health insurance that has to be purchased each winter just to cross the border to come south.  Many cannot even get insurance anymore.  Could be the loss of a driver’s license.  A serious health diagnosis has brought an abrupt end to many an RV’ers travels.  Financial strains is another one.  Care giving can take priority or an expensive repair to an RV can be enough to deter others.  There are many, many reasons. 

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One of our ideas is to at least have some kind of small dwelling somewhere in the southwest that we could at least call home & where we could get to for the winter without expensive fuel costs or Motor Home repairs etc.  Our rig won’t last forever & nor will we but I figure it is far healthier during the cold damp winter months to be in a warmer climate where life can still be enjoyed outside on a daily basis.  I am writing this from first hand experience.  Had I never experienced the difference between cold winters & warm winters then what I am writing here would have little practical validity.  But, having spent the last 5 years living an alternative lifestyle for 5 or 6 months of the year I can speak with some kind of authority. 

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FAMILY OUTING ON THE BEACH

If cold winter weather & all the hazards that come with it are your cup of tea then more power to you.  And, for you folks who have never had an interest or spent any amount of time down south in the winter I can only say this….you don’t know what you are missing & I would suggest if you are totally comfortable in your winter lifestyle, do not come south because it just might mess up your head real bad.  You could come down with something called ‘Hitch Itch’ which so many of us RV’ers already have to varying degrees.  And no, it is not a physical type medical condition but it certainly is a head condition.
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A piece of property in the southwest with a small house is totally practical to me.  If we couldn’t drive our RV anymore we could at least come down in a more fuel efficient car.  No car?  Then, maybe we would have the option to fly down & spend the winter at our southern place.  A boat, a train, a plane, anything!!  I know former RV’ers who are quite happy doing this now.  Have I mentioned before about being ‘stranded’ in Canadian winters!!!!
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Because I am Canadian this is where the fly in the ointment lurks for our future plans but I will be darned if I am going to just roll over & give up on trying to figure out a way we can do this.  And, like I said before, to think this current wondrous RV lifestyle will go on forever is total folly.

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Another option open to us is the possibility of going full time on the road & this was the option I was really pulling for a couple years ago.  But, it too is not without it’s problems & definitely harder to pull off for Canadians.   That option is not off the table for us & may very well come back into play at some point.  Also want to add something else before I forget.  When I talk about harsh winters I am not talking about the southwestern parts of Canada’s British Columbia or Vancouver Island.  Winters are far more tolerable there with a totally different climate than the rest of Canada so for sure it is harder for those folks in that part of Canada to understand what I am writing about here.  Trust me on this one because I lived in southern BC for a few years in the early 70’s & the winters out there are no where near what they can be like here in Ontario.  Let the southern BC folks spend a winter or two in any other Province or northern State & I think the understanding of this post would quickly become crystal clear.

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Another reason for a home base in the southwest is also something I blogged about a few months ago.  Right now we have to travel over 2,000 miles just to get to the southwest before we can even begin to enjoy the land that we love so much.  The cost of that gets more prohibitive with each passing year not to mention the wear & tear on our aging Motor Home. (and us)  If we could live the majority of time somewhere centrally located in the southwest it would make all our preferred destinations much closer.   A base in the southwest would make travels to the northwest more practical in the favorable weather months too.  I haven’t blogged a lot about the northwest simply because we have not traveled there much but it is an area we would enjoy just as much as the southwest.  DSC_3533

Some of us are just built different than others.  Some of us need & prefer a challenge, a project.  We need a reason to get out of bed every day other than to just sit around.  Some of us have a creative need, some of us are inquisitive & seek to add a little outdoor adventure & excitement to our lives.  Some of us just prefer to do all that & have a quiet little place in the country to call home as well.

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BAYFIELD SAILBOATS ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THEIR DAY IN THE WARM SUNNY WATERS OF LAKE HURON 

The Ranch near Elfrida really fired my creative spirit this past winter.  It set off that young man’s desire to shake out the cobwebs, oil up the joints & get rolling with a healthy dose of elbow grease.  A project to enjoy & get my teeth into again.  The Ranch held that for me & I could see that.  It needed a lot of TLC & that's something I enjoy when it comes to that kind of thing.  As I’ve said before, I am not the type of person who is content to just sit around in retirement with my feet up watching television & going through the same old routines day after day after day.

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IN A FEW SHORT MONTHS PEOPLE WILL BE PICNICKING ON BAYFIELD'S BEACH & SWIMMING HERE

And, let me just touch on the aging process for a moment.  We are all just one sudden diagnosis away from an immediate change in our present lifestyle as we know it.  We are not the immune undefeatable & indomitable warriors of our na├»ve youth.   Time is running out for all of us so plans have to be made for future consequences.  Plans have to be made for an ‘end game.’  Some may ignore the inevitable changes taking place while others will try to plan for those changes & roll with them, staying one step ahead by thinking & planning ahead.

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LAKE HURON MUST BE DOWN THIS YEAR BECAUSE THIS WHOLE FOREGROUND SHOULD BE UNDERWATER...AN 'NO' WE DO NOT HAVE TIDES ON THE GREAT LAKES

Now, in summing up, there will be some who will say, “oh lighten up Al your just having a bad day.”  Nope, that’s not it at all.   Some will say, “well, your just being negative.”  Nope, that’s not it either.  But, some of you realistically thinking people will understand exactly what I have just said.  You will understand the RV Lifestyle, you will understand the Snow Birders, the Full Timers & you will even understand....Hitch Itch:))  You will understand the concept of a piece of property whether it be a ranch, a house, a condo or an apartment.  You will understand the reality of the ‘end game.’  You are the forward thinking people who have the insight to plan for your future.  Where you want to be & when you want to be there.  Nothing to do with positive or negative attitudes & everything to do with accepting & dealing with the realities of life in a totally realistic thinking way.  At this age & stage of the game, our future is right now………10-4!!

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GROANER’S CORNER:((   Ever Wonder….
- Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer? 
- If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him? 
- Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the car pool lane? 
- Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs! 
- If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that Acme crap, why didn't he just buy dinner? 
- If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from? 
- If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?
- Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup? 
-  Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window.
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The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails -William Arthur Ward
The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.

30 comments:

  1. I know exactly where you're coming from. We had thought at one time that we'd buy an RV in the south and have ours up here in the north for the summer and just go back and forth but those plans came to an abrupt halt. That wouldn't have solved the problem if we had to remain in Canada for a winter if one of us got sick though so there's always things to think about.

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  2. Wow, what a great post. We do lease our lot in Apache Junction by the year because it is so convenient for Jim to go fishing in three different lakes. So we could easily become "snowbirds". Cannot handle the heat in the summer down here. Today was 100 and it about did us in. However, we do not have a northern spot to go to. We need to work on that. Once again we need to work on compromise.

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  3. Thank you for a very thoughtful, and thought provoking, post. While it may not be easy to think of one's own exit strategy, we all must deal with it in some way. Perhaps I will change my mind when I get out on the road, but right now, I cannot imagine NOT having some kind of a sticks and bricks to come home to. There are no easy answers. We will all need to come to our own conclusions.

    Sure enjoyed your tour of the Bay. So much ice still! I can only imagine what it must be like in January. As a life long westerner, I think I am spoiled.

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  4. I sure can understand what you're talking about. I've been wrestling with trying to make plans for the past year - and I just want to be able to have a home base and travel part of the time. So far I'm drawing a big blank, except that I want summers in the east and winters in the west.

    I hope something works out for you such as the Elfrida Ranch. It sure would be your cup of tea, wouldn't it?

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  5. Your post has opened up many options for all of us!..it is not negative or positive..it is reality!..way to go Al!!..you and Kelly do what you need to do..plan for the future whatever it may entail!..be it buying the ranch in Elfreda..or what ever you want to do!..it is your life and you need to what is best for you two and the 'fur kids'!!
    Have a great weekend!!

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  6. Al,
    I really appreciate your openness and your thoughts concerning all the things mentioned in this post.

    Having grown up in Klamath Falls, Oregon I was used to snow and ice. Nothing like Ontario winters, I know, but still.....cold and icy!

    Living in Eugene, Oregon since 1971 has been much more moderate in the winter, but still wet and cold most of every winter.

    Just since retirement have we been able to consider going somewhere else during the cold winter months. We've visited lots of places in the Southwest at various times, and loved the idea of being able to spend more time there.

    Now, we have the opportunity, with the new motorhome. I agree with you when you say everyone should be realistic and plan for their own "end game". We Boomers will all be historic footnotes at some time in the future. We never know when that will happen. As my doctor once told me, there are lots worse things that can happen to you other than suddenly having a fatal heart attack. We don't like to dwell on those things, but they remain true, nonetheless.

    We each travel the path that leads to our own destiny. None of us can plan our journey in great detail, because of the vagaries of living. The best we can do is try to recognize pitfalls we can avoid, and focus on the good things around us. Being happy with yourself and what you are doing each day is priceless. Does not happen that way for everyone. Probably won't always happen that way for us, but you just never know.

    Taking responsibility for your own future, as well as you can, and trying to make the most reasonable plans you can are the two most important things a person can do, I believe. Having faith in whatever higher spirit you may believe in goes a long way in helping each of us down that road.

    You can see order in the smallest things and order in the larger things. We need to find our place in an ordered universe, and do the best we can to shine.

    The things you mention in your post are all difficult concepts to wrestle with, but at least you're trying to find an orderly way for you to deal with them. You're doing the best you can do (and that includes Kelly, by the way). With your experience and outlook, you will no doubt find a solution that works best for you and your family. We're trying to do the same.

    Thanks again for sharing.

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  7. Excellent post Al ! Life at best is short and no one can better say what is best for someone else. We each seek to choose the way we want to live and even where we want to live, and only the person/couple living in that body can best know.
    Bodies change and reacts to weather different as we age, so some changes may be necessary to accommodate those needs. You only know what best fills your inner being and peace, so you need to decide based on that.
    We full-timed for a year and half and decided to purchase a small home and part time. That life style is better for us and our wants/needs. You and Kelly are the ones to decide what is best for you!
    None of your thoughts are negative, but proactively positive!

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  8. you said a mouthful Al... but who said retirement was sitting back with your feet up watching the telly? Now I have only been retired one month but I bet I have seen less than 5 hours of TV in the entire month... there are much better things to see, feel, smell, hear and touch...

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  9. Fantastic Post! Even as new southwest travellers and 53 and 60(just) we still have to think and ahead and be practical. Property in the SW USA is incredibly tempting but its' not for everyone. Again, a wonderful post, Al.

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  10. Good post, Al. I like your "end game"!

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  11. I can't imagine being critical of one's lifestyle choices. Some folks are critical of people who sell everything and pull their house behind them. Other folks are critical of people who choose to own two houses, or who choose to rent instead of buy, or who live in "trailers". I am supportive of whatever decision one makes for themselves.

    Just because living in an RV and selling the stick and brick house suits me today, I don't know what the future holds. I feel lucky that I can experience the fulltime RV life for now, but I am not naive enough to believe it will last forever. If I am lucky enough to live another 25 or 30 years, I certainly don't need to be on the road pulling or driving such a big vehicle. I say go for what your heart desires, and for what makes sense for you - and the h-e-double-l with what anyone else thinks!

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  12. Upon reading the last paragraph of your blog today, and I read it most days, I can't help but feel you lost your message's impact by falling into the trap of trying to tell us what we would say and think instead of just waiting for comments and letting us speak for ourselves.

    I didn't find this blog negative or an example of a bad day at all. It was very mild actually except for categorizing some of us, in advance, of being realistic or unrealistic depending on whether we agreed with your views or not.

    Bill J.

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  13. I definitely understand the joy of hearing dripping water in the spring. :) There were a few days in the beginning of the thaw when it sounded like we had a little brook outside from the running of water off the house.

    I also can identify with the rest of your post as well. My dad passed away suddenly at the age of 65, which definitely left me with a sense of the fragility of life. That is one huge reason why Harry and I are choosing to make the move to fulltiming sooner rather than later. Yes, he could work a few more years and have a few more bucks each month on his pension, but is that worth lost years of time? We have decided that it is not. We have looked past our rving days somewhat to come up with a vague idea of what the next plan will be, but the specifics are yet to be determined. :)

    I will be looking forward to seeing which path you guys decide to take.

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  14. Al, I think you should travel year round so I can daily read of your adventures! Just kidding, but I'll be happy when fall returns and we get to head out for some new travel adventures. Really enjoy your writing and photography. We had planned on being retired by now but the finances just were not there yet. Thanks for the ride. Max from Illinois.

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  15. A PERFECT POST FOR US! WITH MCGUYVER CLOSING IN ON 70, WE ARE FAST BECOMING SOME OF THE "END GAMERS"..AND WE JUST STARTED!! THANKS FOR THE THOUGHTS....WE ARE CHEWING ON THE SAME ONES.

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  16. Very thoughtful post. I believe in the principal of "plan for the worse and hope for the best". Planning is the burden I carry due to my profession. The trap I'm always on guard for is to not let myself get frozen (fits in with your post) into the planning stage and never implement the plan.

    Good luck with your planning and decision making.

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  17. Good post. We're still 5 yrs from retirement (I'll be 59 then) but intend to sell our current house, store what we want to keep and then travel FT for a couple of yrs. Then we'll get another S&B in some part of Canada (depending on where the kids settle down) as a summer home base. I don't see getting a US base for some time but my parents winter at a park in the RG Valley (father is 80). They used to haul a 5th south each winter but now they just drive down. My Dad keeps busy working on the place and just sold the current one to buy another that needs work. They have a S&B up here for the summer months. I can't see not having a S&B up here for the summer on a long term basis just because I need to have something to do. Being Cdn makes the plan quite different for a US citizen because as you indicate there is insurance and out-of-Canada limits to consider.

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  18. Good post Al. A little bit of a wandering trail to follow. But as I have come to realize this decision is a bit of wandering trail in itself. We are happy as larks with our fulltime lifestyle, although as you say being Canadians, and not from Vancouver Island like Rick, there are a couple of challenging months to deal with when we head north of the Medicine Line to requalify for our health care.

    Although we live in the RV fulltime right now we also realize that nothing ever stays the same and for that reason still have the family farm back home at Dogpound North and use that as our base to "Travel Alberta" in the summers. Now with our purchase of a southern base here in Maricopa it appears that it is likely the RV might stay north next winter and we will bring a smaller trailer and our horses south to Dogpound South.

    About the only thing we have figured out in this lifestyle is that there is no Right Way or Wrong Way to do it. So we are happy doing it Our Way and will have to live with the consequences of that.

    We are sure Our Way will extend our ability to head south for the winters for many years as I am sure there are major health benefits to being able to stay active down here in the warmth over setting and watching the world go by while winter rages on back at Dogpound North.

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  19. This was a great post Al! One of the most important things we do when traveling anywhere (via RV, car, train, plane, foot, scooter…) is to look the world over in an effort to decide where we want to be and where we do not want to be. We view our traveling, especially in the motorhome as a tool, as a means to really get to know an area, not as an end all. As you well know, our winters in northern NY are too cold with way to much snow. Ellie and I were “stationed” in Arizona “way back when” and mentally, we never left. Over the years, I always jumped at the chance to go back to Arizona and the great south west on business. You will never have to explain your love for Arizona and your desire to exit the snow and cold to us, we already get it!

    John
    relaxedrush.blogspot.com

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  20. Well said, Al. We have been fulltime for about 4 yrs and we know the day will come when we will have to "hang up our keys". We hope to have found a nice piece of ground somewhere out west....that is where we want to hang our "end of days" hat! I doubt that the "hitch itch" ever goes away though.

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  21. I think too many people dream and never fulfill the dream.

    It's your story. Good or bad, whether people agree or not.
    It is still your story.

    The "end" game seems far away for some of us, but it's hard to predict when your time is up. So unless you are willing to settle, it's always a good time to re-evaluate your life and your dreams and act on what you believe is right for you.

    I am not a fulltime RV'er. Yet. But am working towards it and will achieve that result in the next few years (hopefully before I am 50).

    Good post, great thought process.

    PS; The winters in Alberta and Saskatchewan are horribly cold!!!! And unless you really like shovelling snow, stay away from the Maritimes!
    LOL

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  22. Great post, as always. We've just touched on some of those thoughts about when we can't do the fulltime thing anymore. We have a chunk of land in the NM mountains that we could pull the fiver onto, but it's 50+ miles from the nearest medical facilities...maybe not so good for when we have to stop.

    I'm assuming a lot, but our thoughts are that we can always find a little town with a little house somewhere in the west to "ride to the sunset" from. No, we don't have anything yet, but we do comment during our travels "This wouldn't be a bad place to live" when we see possibilities. That's about as close as we've gotten to "planning ahead" at this point!

    Renee

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  23. Al, I didn't take the time to read all of the 22 comments ahead of us (time is running short for us old-timers, as you know, and we have to choose where to spend every minute), but you know where we stand on this topic. You will remember that we posted about the concept of hanging up the keys some time ago. Your essay today, if I may call it an essay, was an excellent introspective look at your thinking process, well written, and certainly enough to give pause to those who refuse to look at their future, whether it be near or far away. And we won't know if it is near or far away until it arrives, perhaps quite suddenly. Good for you! Keep telling it the way you do, and people will listen. And if they don't that's their problem until it becomes society' problem.

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  24. Well said, well thought out and it certainly will get a lot of discussions going with the different categories of RVers and retirees. Still being in travel and explore mode, we will eventually get to the point of where do we want to come off the road? Thanks for raising these issues...

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  25. Excellent capture of the light in your water photos today. Very well done and much appreciated.
    A well written article and left me wondering what magazine I was reading at the time. Thoughts and food for thoughts.
    Today is the first day of the rest of our life and it is up to each of us what we make of it.

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  26. We had similar thoughts when we bought our land in TN. For now it will provide us a free parking spot with the only bills being water/power (unless our solar can keep up). If we have to park for an extended period due to the economy or health, it will be there. Eventually we plan to build a small house for that day when we do give up the keys. Yes, you do need to think ahead!

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  27. Al,
    Great post. You definitely put into words what many of us should think about, but don't want to think about.
    There are many options and we each have to choose what works for us, and that means we have to put some thought into it while we have the energy and smarts to do so.

    Selene, NC

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  28. I enjoyed your post Al and I believe in the last 15 years that we have fulltimed, we have pretty much followed what you feel is lifes necessity.. We have gotten 15 years older and now have us a nice place down here in the Southwest and another nice little place in the next best place we found we loved....The Black Hills of South Dakota....We still have an RV and can use it as we wish,,,when it gets necessary, we will just travl back and forth between the 2 places in a car...

    We're ready,,,bring it on....

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  29. Thank You for all the South West travel tips.
    We are at home hearing all the drips as the snow melts on our roof.
    You hit on a lot of very real points in this blog. We don't live forever and we slow down due to health problems way before that.
    I hope you guys keep on enjoying life and letting us know how it is going.
    We enjoyed a 10 day mini vacation in the Tucson / Bisbee / Tombstone area. I never found that cool old trailer park in your photos.
    Take Care.

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  30. Al, thought you'd like to know that your post for Saturday night can't be opened.

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