Americana Emersion

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Jackson, Wyoming

Ahh, we are drinking deeply in Americana this week as we meander along the Oregon Trail on our way to the Northwest.

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Can’t seem to get enough of the famous pioneer trails! Oregon Trail, Baker City, Oregon.

We are camped at Mountain View RV in Baker City, OR.  This town is ready for Halloween!  The city streets are decorated with hay bundles and scarecrows.  The gold and orange leaves are falling in the neatly manicured old neighborhoods where, in just 24 hours, children will giggle with the thrill of knocking on doors and asking for treats.  What fun!

As I sit here writing, I can hear the distant train whistle.  The other day, we had lunch at a prototypical diner, Inland Cafe.  Wow!  Step back in time!  We had the sweetest waitress, a magnificent turkey dinner and a take-home cinnamon roll that melted all the way down. All for $22.  Don’t you love a diner where the town folks come in to talk about whatever comes to mind?

We just returned from attending the local LDS church, which you can see from our motorhome window.  One couple knew us because they had just been through the Martin’s Cove trek leader training program we helped lead in Wyoming.  We love to attend church each Sunday everywhere we go.  The Baker City 1st ward congregation is chuck full of children. These parents are doing an excellent job of raising their young ones.  It gives us hope for the future.  We enjoyed the Sunday School interactions.  Where else can you get this kind of wisdom and good feelings even though we have never met these people before? The church, it’s teachings and programs are the same all over the world.

Before we were full-time travelers, it was hard to tell the difference in our lives from one week to the next.  But now —- stuff is happening!

We started the week Monday morning by reeling in the electrical cord and leaving our 6-month home at Missionary Village near Devil’s Gate, Wyoming.  Our mission responsibilities there had ended.  But we couldn’t get out of the campground because some rogue missionaries (Elder Crist — repent!) had blocked the gate with detour signs.

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Road crew was busy preventing our departure

 

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Even the wood-working team got in on the shenanigans!

It was bittersweet to leave that place that stores so many memories for us now.

The weather was favorable, so we chose to head west via Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  We followed the Wind River Mountains northwest.  There was some snow at Togwotee Pass, but the roads were dry.  Pine trees!  Tetons!  Snake River!  After 6 months in the dry, sage-covered sand, we were ready to drink in the cool mountain scenery.

After window shopping and dinner in Jackson, we found a wide spot in the road and slept soundly that night.

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I don’t know many places that sell genuine triceratops fossils other than Jackson. At $300,000 it was a bargain! But, since it wouldn’t fit in the motorhome…

Although we considered a jaunt up to Yellowstone, all the animals Wendy wanted to see (moose and bear) are in winter disappearance mode and it was a rainy,cloudy day so we decided to continue on west instead.

Next stop: Uncle Earl and Aunt Sandy White’s place.

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You should see their garden in the summer- I’m coming back for the strawberries and raspberries.

Wendy has some amazing relatives. They live on the Snake River in a little Idaho town called Heyburn.  Here they have a small farm (White Cloud Ranch) where they raise a bobcat, cheetohs (exotic house cats), dogs, fancy chickens (Silkies, Frizzles), quail and peacocks.

 

We gathered multiple kinds of delicious fresh apples off the trees and took home a carton of multi-colored exotic chicken eggs.

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White Cloud Ranch is a treasure trove of fascinating hobbies and we’re always welcomed with great food (including purple fried breakfast potatoes, Sandy’s eggs, home canned pears and grape juice) and loving kindness.  We so loved the peaceful, fall scene looking out over the Snake River as the roosters crowed, chickens clucked and the peacocks strutted.

If you ever need any down-home therapy, head for the White Cloud Ranch!  Having family is a wonderful thing.

The next morning we rolled on to Boise, Idaho.  This was my first time visiting the city and I must say, I was surprised and impressed.  The economy is healthy and it’s a beautiful place with nice weather. They call it the Banana Belt as it remains relatively temperate in the winter.  So for those of you who would like to live out west, Boise should be on your possible’s list.

We arrived Wednesday afternoon and tracked down our friends, Chuck and Tonya King from our college days at Brigham Young University 33 years ago.

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We raised our first babies together at the Provo laundromat and thrift stores. They’ve been hard to catch up with over the years as they were living Hong Kong and Mexico City. We had a delightful dinner with them and reminisced and caught up on children’s lives and future plans.

Next day we visited Great-Uncle Cecil and Aunt Elsie Grow (Wendy’s relatives on her mother’s side).  It just happened to be Uncle Cecil’s 89th birthday.

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These people are endless!  They’re fit!  And they were so kind to us. We also spent time with Orri Grow (Grant’s son) and his daughter Natalie, who were visiting their grandparents. Wendy had fun quizzing Cecil and Elsie about their genealogy.

Wendy has fond memories of spending time in their home as a child and hanging out with their sons Craig and Grant.

Cecil and Elsie have served five missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We hope to have that much energy to continue serving over the coming decades.

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Missionary plaques for Riverton California, Mongolia, Kenya, Nauvoo Illinois, Monterey Mexico

Friday was another 130 mile drive to Baker City, Oregon.  (You will notice we don’t go far each day.  What’s the rush?  The joy is in the journey.)  Saturday we were able to grab the last jet boat of the season with 15 delightful German high schoolers to go down the Snake River through Hell’s Canyon.

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Hell’s Canyon, Oregon- deepest canyon in North America at 7900 feet.

The canyon is formed by the meeting of two techtonic plates and not from the river carving its way into the earth.

We boated through level 4 rapids down the Snake and had lunch on the grounds of a remote, off the grid cabin at Sheep Creek. A bald eagle soared past us as we returned upriver. It was a wild ride intermixed with peaceful scenery.

And here we sit comfortably in our home on a Sunday afternoon.  One of the best things about this lifestyle is we can travel without pushing hard to get somewhere.  Plus, we’re never exhausted and rarely uncomfortable — because we bring our home with us including our couch, recliner and the most comfortable bed we’ve ever owned. (We also like the dishwasher, washer and dryer.)

Anyway, that’s what we did at our house this week.  It was a great time full of new insights, scenery and ideas.  How much fun!

-Clay

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Work Camping On the Road

Retirement Plan #1 was to retire on January 1, 2018.  By then we would have plenty and to spare in our retirement portfolio to buy a motorhome and be full-time, no-work travelers.  But we were simply running out of physical and emotional gas.  When it’s no longer fun, it’s time to make a new plan.  Hence, Retirement Plan #2.

Retirement Plan #2 is to work several months each year to fund our annual expenses, live cheaply so we don’t have to work more than a few months a year, and let Clay grow the earnings of our portfolio until they can support our annual expenses.

So how does one find work on the road to support this nomadic lifestyle?

Working on the Road

There are tons of interesting opportunities to earn money or volunteer while living on the road full time. Some pay money and some give free RV spots with full-hookups in exchange for a bit of your time each week.

Locum Tenens (LT)

There are opportunities for medical professionals to work and live on the road full time doing locum tenens (temporary) assignments.  So if you are a doctor, dentist, CRNA, nurse practitioner, nurse or physician assistant, this may be for you!

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Ready for the operating room on locum tenens assignment

You can make the arrangements yourself with a hospital or practice (and keep all the money you negotiate for your fees), or you can become a subcontractor for a professional LT company that does the legwork and gets the assignments for you. That’s the easiest way to go, but you share the hospital’s pay with the LT.

For me, having a reputable company managing my contracts is more important and so much easier than doing it myself.  The LT company arranges travel, housing, utilities, cable/internet, car rental as well as the endless paperwork for getting state licensure, hospital privileges and recommendations.  So far, I have been very pleased with CompHealth.

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What if you’re not in the health profession like me?  Actually, the vast majority of work opportunities for full-time travelers are outside the health profession.  And if you follow the weather, you can easily live in your RV year round while doing temporary assignments.

Following is a partial list of organizations with job sites for full-time travelers.  Click on the links to research each site.

Workampingjobs.com

A free site for RV workers and the businesses that need them. Employers can submit listings for volunteer work camping positions, paid positions or a combination of both. Positions can be seasonal, temporary, short or long term, full or part time. RV workers can submit a detailed online resume to let employers know they are available.

Escapees/Escapers

Want to work while you travel? Want to hire RVers looking for work? The Job Board matches job opportunities with traveling contract workers who want full or part-time work.

Amazon

Ever wonder what type of people pack those boxes of stuff you order from Amazon?  Some of them are people who live in travel trailers and motorhomes!

According to their website,  amazonfulfillmentcareers.com, the Amazon CamperForce program brings together a community of enthusiastic RV’ers who help make the holidays bright for the customers of the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com. As a CamperForce Associate, you’ll begin this seasonal assignment in early Fall and work until December 23rd in either: Jeffersonville, IN, Campbellsville, KY, Murfreesboro, TN or Haslet, TX. Amazon offers great pay, a paid completion bonus, paid referral bonuses, and paid campsites for its CamperForce Associates.

So, you work on your feet 10-12 hrs a day  packing boxes, but you also get in shape and form lasting bonds with other CamperForce members.

Freelancing online

There are many companies who need projects done but don’t want to hire and take care of permanent employees. Thanks to the internet, there’s a ton of jobs to choose from online.  Here is a link to the largest such job site:

UpWork

State Parks

State parks around the country are looking for volunteers.

oregonstateparks.org has multiple opportunities from campground hosting, maintenance hosting, day-use host, archive explorer/museum assistant, trail ambassador and … interpretive hosting at lighthouses.

Lighthouses! And unlike some other states, Oregon only requires a one month commitment, but you can work longer.  A travel blogger (wheelingit.com) gives a lovely commentary on lighthouse hosting.

Volunteer Park Rangers

Another option is signing up to be a volunteer park ranger at dozens of  federal parks around the country.  In exchange for a full hook up RV site, a couple or single person works a total of 32 hours in a week. So, if there are two of you, 16 hours a piece.

Work might involve manning or womaning the gift store or information booth, checking in guest campers, collecting daily use site fees or acting as a tour guide.

Sitting Bull Falls- Gem of the Desert

We found this place by going to one of our favorite sites, tripadvisor.com and looking under “Carlsbad, New Mexico- Things To Do”.  Sitting Bull Falls made the list — it is over an hour’s drive west of Carlsbad in the middle of desert nowhere.  But oh so worth it. You don’t need to go digging for gems in the desert – it’s just sitting there for the taking.

After driving to the end of a narrow river box canyon with high ridges on three sides, the white haired volunteer ranger ambled up to our Jeep when we parked at the lovely picnic table area with individual sturdy stone pavilions covering them.

Showing him our handy dandy Interagency Use Pass (which gets us into most of the National Forest and National Park areas for free for a year after paying $80) saved us the $5 per person day use fee. He told us about the Falls and how to go up and over the rim of the canyon for a nice hike that would take just over an hour to complete.

We peppered him with questions about his volunteer ranger service. Five months ago, he and his wife came to see the falls, but the gate was locked. They asked at the ranger station far down the road and discovered the falls were closed because there were no volunteers to staff the falls.  They couldn’t keep it open, except for 3 hrs a day, four days a week. Which was hardly worth it after such a long drive to get there- and how would you know if it was closed or not? There are no up-to-date websites on the area.

The old guy said, “My wife and I will host the site in our RV and commit to stay a year.”  The rangers were thrilled to have them and now they live on site with full hookups,  a cement pad, a stone covered picnic area and a privacy wall that partially blocks the canyon winds.

We walked the trail along the typical dry rocky desert canyon wall, rounded the corner and saw…. an oasis of lush green vegetation and sparkling waterfall reminiscent of a Hawaiian paradise. It was all kinds of yummy rolled into a feast for the eyes.

Using our hiking packs as pillows, we laid down on the warm sandstone beach, soaking up the rays, listening to the rush of the waterfall and the wind as it rushed in waves through the canyon. I practiced meditation breathing just to see if I could clear my mind completely. Even if just for a few seconds.

I need to do more of this.

After gathering up our mojo, we took the hike right up the canyon walls in switchback carved stone and wood steps up to the top of the ridge, careful of where we placed our feet on the boulder strewn path.

We would not have made the trek if some kind souls hadn’t rated the experience on Trip Advisor. Thanks whoever you are!  And we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the falls if this couple had not volunteered to stay a year in this remote, but beautiful place.  We thank you.

White Sands National Monument- Sandy Beach with No Ocean

In the middle of the typical New Mexico desert is an atypical oasis of white sand that fills the basin between the circle of surrounding mountains. A truly zen place to explore.

There was a sunset hike scheduled so we met the volunteer park ranger for a walk on the dunes. He and his wife live in their RV and were here on a 3 month assignment. This was just one of the many places they had worked. For 32 hrs a week, split between the two of them, they got a free full hook up site and did whatever they were assigned to do during their work hours.

And they got to tromp around the sand dunes, which always stay cool to the touch, even in the heat of summer, because they are not silica based sand, but powdered gypsum.

There was so much to see and learn, and then the magnificent sunset.

What a great job!

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument- Condos with a View

Above Silver City, New Mexico, after driving on winding roads about 2 hours through high mountain pines is the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. The mile long hike up to the dwellings starts in a canyon next to a rippling creek with crossing foot bridges, cool green vegetation and beautiful rock formations.

The dwellings with their 46 rooms are carefully crafted inside natural caves. The hearty people who lived there bounded up and the down the rocky face to retrieve water in the creek at the bottom. No baby gates, so you needed kids with self-preservation skills.

Volunteer rangers staff the nice visitor’s center, the trailhead and the dwellings themselves.

Don’t these look like amazing places to live while volunteering?

 

Wendy

Things to Do Around Oklahoma City

The Longer You Stay, the More Things Happen

You’re still in OKC? You must really like the place!!

Not so fast, buckaroo. It’s all about the waiting. Patiently waiting for good news. We’ve been here a week getting repairs on the Detroit Diesel motorhome engine.

In the meantime, a call came in from the body shop in Blairsville that has taken on the assignment to sell our Infiniti G37 coupe. Hey we could use some good news: maybe they have a buyer!!

Nope. This is all about a series of unfortunate events. Never in the history of their business as this EVER happened. They are SO sorry.  Uh oh.  Sorry about what?

Apparently an employee at the car rental agency that shares their building pulled up in a rental SUV, jumped out and went into his office. A few minutes later the SUV, which was not in park and did not have it’s parking brake on, rolled down the lot and crashed in our car. Creamed it.

We had a pristine car for sale. Now we have a severely damaged car that will need extensive repairs and will never be worth the asking price. Arrggghhhh. We’ll have a discussion with the car rental agency about this, I assure you.

Then we got a call from the truck engine shop- “You’re good to go. RV is all done”, they say.  So we packed our stuff up from the motel and showed up at 3pm while the technician was finishing his paperwork.  We asked him how the test drive went, and he said “Ahh, we were just getting to that.”  30-minutes later the technician tells us the test drive did not go so well.  An engine warning code is coming on, so we’ll have to keep it another night.

Back to the motel, get another room (yay, change of scenery) and unpack.

I could use another watery zen sandwich on my floaty thingy in the motel pool, but the weather is too cloudy and breezy. Will settle for a classic TCM movie and see what tomorrow brings.

So while we have been waiting this past week, what have we done? I’m glad you asked, because it has been surprisingly interesting.

Things to See and Do in OKC

~The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

So, I’m not a cowgirl, but this is a fascinating, huge place. Every gallery leads into another 2 galleries, with lots of twists and turns. From Native American art to saddles, old cowboy movies, rodeo, hundreds of barb wire samples (I didn’t know there were so many designs!), John Wayne’s memorabilia collection, art by Russell and Remington and a jaw-dropping collection of five groups of 16 foot high oil painted triptychs of scenes from the West.  It is well worth a visit.

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End of the Trail Monument

Out Where the West Begins, by Arthur Chapman, speaks to my need to roam this vast country:

Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger,
Out where the smile dwells a little longer,

That’s where the West begins;
Out where the sun is a little brighter,
Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter,
Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter,

That’s where the West begins.
Out where the skies are a trifle bluer,
Out where the friendship’s a little truer,

That’s where the West begins;
Out where a fresher breeze is blowing,
Where there’s laughter in every streamlet flowing,
Where there’s more of reaping and less of sowing,

That’s where the West begins.
Out where the world is in the making,
Where fewer hearts in despair are aching,

That’s where the West begins.
Where there’s more of singing and less of sighing,
Where there’s more of giving and less of buying,
Where a man makes a friend without half trying,

That’s where the West begins.

~Oklahoma River

Bike and walking paths that follow the river on both sides, beautiful landscaping. Home of summer water sports.  Very cool place to spend time.  We’ve enjoyed hiking and biking these trails.

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Oklahoma River walking trail

~Land Rush monument.

in 1889, unassigned lands were opened to up in a race on April 22. At high noon, 50,000 people raced off to grab either a town lot or up to 160 rural acres. Those who cheated and hid out in the brush ahead of time to claim the best pieces of land were called Sooners.  (And now you know!)

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Oklahoma Land Rush Monument


 

~Bass Pro Shop

The river walk leads under the highway and into lovely manicured areas by the Land Rush Monument and the downtown hotel district and a Bass Pro Shop. I don’t think I’ve ever been in one of these stores before. (Hey, we’ve lived in Blairsville for 14 years.  We were thrilled to get a Walmart.)  This store is an event unto itself. The clerk said this was one of the smaller Bass Pro Shop stores, because it didn’t have a restaurant.  But it did have a herd of taxidermied bison running across the top of the clothing displays; an entire coyote family; a grizzly bear scaring off rock rappelling mannikins; a river camp with an old cabin and a rusted pickup truck over an aquarium fishing hole filled with huge live game fish; and acres of things to buy, including  an indoor fleet of enormous pontoon boats.

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I resisted the urge to be a conspicuous consumer and only walked away with my replacement Leatherman mini-multi tool (which the TSA so kindly confiscated on my last flight) and a set of sporks for our Bento lunch boxes.  I really liked the ice cream making soccer ball and the camoflaged foodsaver vacuum systems for hunters.

Can see myself in a small inflatable rubber row boat: on a lake, fishing for our supper, napping when I feel like it- away from it all, rocking to the rhythm of the water. There might be room in the RV basement for an inflatable boat.

~Rodeo

Attended the Prairie Circuit Finals in Duncan, OK. The winners will go on to the finals in Kissimmee, Florida in April, 2016. Steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, barrel racing, bareback horse riding, saddle horse riding, bull riding. Exhilarating and fun. We’ll be doing this again.

An older man, skinny as a rail, tan as a nut, maybe 110 pounds after a full Thanksgiving dinner, sat next to me in the stands. He had on a cream straw cowboy hat, a pristine ironed cowboy shirt, blue jeans with a sparkling sheen of heavy starch, with a crease so sharp it could cut you and Sunday go to meetin’ cowboy boots. He was the real deal.

 

 

~Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK

When is a heritage center sweet? When the darling little guide tells you with great sober sincerity about your Experience Theater ahead of time- to make sure you are prepared for the 4-D event. You are immersed in a cattle drive up from southern Texas due north 1000 miles in 100 days to Kansas City, herding longhorn cattle in all kinds of weather and danger. You smell the sage, feel the thunder of cattle hooves, sense the wind and even get wet in a thunderstorm. Fun for all ages.

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~Western Wear Stores.

These are everywhere and they are HUGE. I mean, can you really sell 500 pairs of $500 cowboy boots or thousands of pairs of jeans and plaid shirts??  I don’t know, but they sure try.

 

 

~Disc Golf.  

We went walking at the Will Rogers Park the other day and saw groups of people- all ages from little kids to teenagers, young adults and older folks like us playing the different holes of a large disc golf course. It was heartening to see and no one was on their cell phones: no texting, tweeting, twerting or tweeking. We have the equpment, just need to get started!

At the rate we are going, we may become experts at the game before we leave OKC. Got plenty of time.

Wendy

What about the airplane?

The single most frequent question I’ve had from family and friends in the past few months is “What about the plane?”

They’re speaking of 212CS, the RV-4 airplane I spent 8 years building and the past 15 years flying. They know me as the airplane guy. Perhaps I gave them an aerobatic experience or landed near their home for a visit. They just can’t imagine me without my wings.

Test flight in March 2015 after extensive overhaul and paint.

Test flight in March 2015 after extensive overhaul and paint.

Well, the short answer is, I sold it.

When Wendy and I contemplated our next phase of life we considered any number of possibilities, including a bigger airplane or a faster airplane. We imagineered a life in Italy, Australia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Costa Rica and the Baja Peninsula of Mexico. We explored all kinds of possibilities over the past few years, we lived them in our minds and took vacations to simulate them.

Wendy and I are great planners. I specialize in thinking outside the box, and Wendy excels at researching all my crazy ideas. We love to dream together. And each of us is careful to ensure that whatever our plans might be, it fills the needs of the other.

Sometimes we get stuck in life because of our possessions. We want to continue to grow, explore and develop ourselves. But often, such growth requires leaving our beloved “stuff”, and our foot gets stuck in the possession trap.

This step forward in our lives required that we sell virtually everything. And while the airplane was the most difficult to consider selling, it wasn’t that big of a deal for me. Yes, I did shed a tear after I watched 212CS take to the sky at the hand of it’s new owner. But I could not ask for a better new owner. He loves her and is an extraordinary pilot. She is in good hands.  Here’s a link (with Randy’s permission) of his most recent video post of 212CS.

There is a time and season for everything. Building 212CS, and then flying her has taught me much and provided me with some amazing experiences and memories. Through her I met some of the finest people you will find on planet earth.

Now it’s time to explore the world with my sweetheart, Wendy, at my side. And we’ll do so in Zane, our 45-foot Newell motor coach. How much fun is that!

Clay

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Zane and Squirrel (our Jeep towed vehicle)- with motorhome sisters at the Newell Factory– ready for new adventures!

President’s Day — well, sort of

After a great visit with our (grand)kids and (grand)kittens in Wisconsin we decided to spend some time at the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, IL. We figured, if it could be done easily, let’s do it.

Wendy called ahead and got permission for us to spend the night in the bus parking lot next to the library. It cost all of $5 to put Zane in there. Next morning we walked across the street and learned about Lincoln, the Great Debates and the Civil War.

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Not all presidents are created equal!

It just so happens that I’m also reading the recently published book by Dr. Ben Carson (presidential candidate). I find that books by candidates are a great way to understand what makes these men tick, rather than the soundbites we get from the media.

So this day was President’s Day for me (Lincoln and Carson). A pleasant day. What a great life!

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Abraham Lincoln

We left Springfield in the afternoon and rolled on Southwest through St. Louis toward our next hard stop — Miami, OK where we have an appointment at the Newell Factory for Monday, Oct 12th.

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This night we stayed at a truck stop where we gassed up. Truck stops are free and can be very busy places with trucks rolling in and out all night long. But we sleep well. Just close the windows, turn on the generator and run the A/C and it sleeps like a tomb (or a really comfy hotel, since we have never actually slept in a tomb).

As Wendy was looking at videos for purchase at the truck stop market (because there’s nothing else to do when you’re at a truck stop), a sweet older African American man, a long distance trucker, said very softly, “I like your house.”  She smiled at him in thanks and he continued, “Your RV is what we wanted to get some day, me and my wife. She would spend hours on the internet looking at all kinds of rigs, dreaming and planning.  I’m close to retirement and we wanted to spend our time traveling the highways together.  But she died last year, and now, I’m on the road with my daughter. I’m still going to get that RV, because it was our dream.”

Wendy came back to the RV and hugged me. With tear-filed eyes, we gratefully acknowledged our blessings: that we are young enough to enjoy this experience together and have enough energy and health to do so for many years to come.

Clay

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Old Route 66- the heart of Miami, Oklahoma

Moving to Florida- for an entire week

Retirement

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Retirement?!?  Are you Bats??

After planning for three years and spending the past year trying unsuccessfully to sell my solo ENT medical practice in Blairsville, Georgia, and while still negotiating the sale of the hearing practice, we decided to walk away.  We had felt an overwhelming urgency to leave, strongly prompted to go now. Not in 2-3 months. Now.

I quit my practice on September 3- stunning our loyal staff. Losing a job is never easy and they had no warning.  But, I’m a surgeon and I like to cut cleanly and get the healing started up as soon as possible.

I had seen 16,400 people over the past 14 years from the surrounding 9 counties and 3 states.  It was a well-run and professionally adminstered practice (thanks to Clay) and I was treated very kindly by the local hospital and my 200 referring providers.

But it was time to go. To be done living and working in Blairsville. Sold the house, the airplane, the hangar and the extra car.

Not quite done working, though. If we had sold the practice, we would have been able to live off the dividends of the investments that Clay has so carefully cultivated over the years. That didn’t happen, so I will do locum tenens (temporay doctor) assignments around the country for 3 months of the next few years until dividends equal yearly expenditures.

So, now what?

Clay and I both made quick Labor Day Weekend trips to see our Moms (Clay to Greenwood, Indiana and me to Plymouth, Michigan).  So grateful for our brothers and sisters who watch out for them.

Then, on Tuesday, September 8th, we released parking brake and took off for Crestview, Florida to establish our new state residency.  We had already changed our mailing address to the Good Sam Mailing Service in Crestview, as well as arranging health and auto and RV insurance from that location.

Establishing Florida Residency

The first full day in Florida, after paying for a week at the Eagles Landing RV Park in Holt, Florida, we showed up at the Tax Collector’s Office in Crestview.  Three hours later, we had Florida Driver’s Licenses, Voter Registration Cards, an official Declaration of Domicile (for taxation and residency), library cards and picked up our accumulated mail at Good Sam Mail Service (also called My RV Mail) and were back in the RV having lunch.  Pre-planning is the key.  There are plenty of websites about how to establish residency.

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Good Sam Mail Service — can you see our mailbox?

Why Florida?

Yes, we were residents of Georgia for 14 years- but there are three states that work very well for residency when you live on the road full time and don’t plan to spend very much time in any one state: South Dakota, Texas and Florida.  Health insurance for full time travellers is becoming hard to find in South Dakota. Texas requires a special driver’s license to operate a motorhome (including a driving test expecting you to parallel park the RV. Seriously???  Forty five feet of motorhome— at no point, I promise you, will I be parallel parking her. No offense, Zane dear, but you’ve got a generously endowed rear).  And they want it inspected every year.  Too many hassles.

Florida has no state income tax, good health insurance for people like us and they understand snowbirds when it comes to jury duty.  And you don’t have to renew your driver’s license in person for 16 more years.  I’ll be 70 by then.

So, legal Florida residents, a week later we were back on the road, heading up the Mississippi River to Wisconsin to see our children and grandkids.  Stay tuned.

Wendy

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Clay fulfilling the dream: watching barges on the Mississippi River