Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Going From Fulltime to Part Time May Have Some Complications

 At Bastrop KOA, Bastrop, Texas...

Let's see...I think we left off bemoaning the fact that we were having to leave the mountains and head back to Texas. We did that, stopping at Plainview, Texas to visit with longtime RV friends Bubba and LouAnn and their wonderful extended family. We think of all the Barkers as part of our own family, and it was hard to say goodbye. As usual, I forgot to take photos, doggone it. The old memory just isn't what it used to be.

The long and hurried drive through Texas (we had doctor appointments) doesn't produce much content for a blog post, but we count the trip's being uneventful as a blessing. We picked Bastrop to stay outside of nearby Austin, which is where Phannie's windshield would be replaced. You may remember that a large rock thrown by a vehicle going the opposite direction slammed into Phannie's lower left windshield just outside Golden, Colorado on our way to Yellowstone with the Turleys in the summer. The damage was fatal for the windshield, but I taped up the foot-long cracks that radiated from the main strike point, using clear shipping tape, and we were able to make the whole trip without the cracks growing longer.

We stayed outside of Austin because we try to avoid large cities whenever possible, due to the greater incidence of Covid. There's also the fact that Austin traffic is relatively insane. It has also been invaded by a whole passel of left coast lunatics that are trying to turn it into San Francisco or something equally despicable. They're calling it Austifornia, of all things. Anytime you see a city council trying to defund the police, you know something is terribly wrong. I can hardly believe it is happening here in my beloved Texas. It is so, well, un-Texan. There was a time when we had a sort of fundamental way of dealing with these things, but it's not the old West anymore, and it's kind of a pity.

Longhorn Glass had Phannie's windshield replaced in about four hours, including drying time for the sealant, and they seem to have done a good job. I had an insurance deductible to pay, but it was small potatoes compared to the insurance company's part. By the way, let me give a shout out to Texas Farm Bureau Insurance. We have been customers of theirs for years, and the few claims we've had have been handled superbly, beyond all expectations. They are good people. Our agent, Tyler Duniven, is Bubba's and LouAnn's son-in-law, but we don't think that gives us special treatment; the company's just good at what they do.

Okay, let's get to the part where we talk about the subject of this post. I tend to digress more and more often these days, don't you think?  We are approaching five years of fulltiming since we sold our house in Fort Worth and hit the road. It has been a glorious adventure, and we've seen so much of the country that we're close to completing our bucket list. Would we do it all again? Absolutely. 

Phannie has covered almost 60,000 miles while fulltiming, and our two toads (we wore out the first one) named Mae have been driven much more, besides being towed for all those miles behind Phannie. What is amazing is that, in all her miles (110,000 total) and her 15 years of age, Phannie has been nothing but dependable as a home on the road. We've replaced air conditioners, the microwave oven, the tires (twice), the refrigerator (changed from Norcold to residential) and installed at new jack system, but the Caterpillar engine, the Allison transmission and the rest of the chassis have operated without a single hiccup. And we haven't had to buy a single drop of DEF!

With that in mind, maybe you can understand why we don't want to giver her up. The truth, is, Sandy and I are the ones who are beginning to need repairs instead of Phannie. Sandy is having foot surgery later this month, and I don't know how much longer my knees are going to hold out without new parts. There are a few other non-serious health issues that are also going to need some attention before long.

These are signs that are pointing to a new paradigm. Luckily, we've had five good years on the road, and we're not ready to give up our occasional traveling in Phannie, but we know we need get ourselves repaired and find a home base where we have terra firma of our own--where we can keep our "stuff" and put down some roots, if only temporary ones. The question is, what will that look like, and where will it be? You might be surprised that we didn't have an exit plan from fulltiming, but we didn't. I am not a planner by nature, and I have always believed in the old Yiddish adage, "Man plans, and God laughs."

One big complication is that the pandemic is keeping us from being in contact with our family for the time being. Our daughter is a nurse who is constantly in contact with Covid patients and, thereby, her whole family are potential carriers. If we were exposed, it could be lethal for us, being in the riskiest group as we are. By mutual agreement, we've decided to stay apart until there is some kind of resolution in place, which we pray will be soon. Thank goodness for Facetime!

With this in mind, we want to find some place that is not too far from the kids and the medical facilities we have been using, so that may preclude our consideration of a permanent dwelling like buying or building a house, because we may eventually want to move closer. We're looking for something small, close to a good-sized town. As we look at various opportunities, we are trying to be open-minded and hoping the right thing will come along, praying for clarity when it does. In fact, we've already made one offer--a very reasonable one--but it didn't work out. So, that's a door closed--a step toward clarity, we think--and we'll see what happens next.

I'll give you an update after Sandy's surgery, so hang in there, and send a prayer her way, if you're so inclined. This part of our RV life may prove to be interesting, since we don't know how it's going to turn out. You can be surprised right along with us!

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 
please forgive me if I fail to appreciate it each day as I should.

We don't stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing. 
 ---George Bernard Shaw

"I get up every morning, and I just don't let the old man in." ---Clint Eastwood