Friday, May 29, 2009

Moving Out and Moving In

We are getting into more of a routine and can be a little more regular with our updates to the Roadrunner Chronicles.
As you can imagine, things have been a 'non-normal' (is that a word?) in our transition.

Tuesday afternoon we drove from Fort Monroe/Hampton VA to Fairfax. Our friends Jeff and Tiffany kept our dog Ed while we were away getting the RV. Tiffany and their four kids enjoyed checking out the RV. And we got to meet some Tiffany's neighbors and give a tour.Then it was over to the old house. Driving it through the neighborhood and getting it parked was fine. Fine except for the mailbox that I 'nudged' when I backed it up (oops). Good thing the ground was soggy after a couple of days of rain. It was a quick repair. A couple of long screws and lag bolts and it was as good as new.

While Pam and Kelly were cleaning up the house for the last time, I mowed the lawn for the last time. I worked on a golf course in high school so never have minded mowing the lawn. I get a sense of accomplishment, have time to reflect--I just like it. (I'm not saying I will miss it however...)
Ed was doing what he does best: chilling out on the cooler concrete garage floor.
We had a chance to go up the street to see Roxanne and Pete for a few minutes before we headed out to the campground. They have been great friends and neighbors. We are going to miss them.
And we saw the old truck parked in its new home.We emptied everything out of the house. Wow--lot of good memories there. We have never lived anywhere for 14 years.
Here is campsite for the next 10 days. The Lake Fairfax Park campground is a nice area with good scenery, and a little overpriced for the accommodations. But this is the Washington DC area so we are used to it.
Pam set up the dishwashing area last nite and I dried them later. Meanwhile, Kelly was checking out the captain's chair/driver side. She has been a big help in getting out of the house and setting up the RV.
More goodbyes: Roger and I have been meeting regularly for the last couple of years. We got to be friends after we both took the same discipleship training course at MBC. He is the President, CEO of Trinicor Technologies.
Along the way, I want to add some value by listing some good ideas when I come across them or think of them. Hope they are useful:

Roadrunner Reminders (or Lessons Learned, Tips etc): (mainly to myself)
  • Organization - It is already clear to me that we are in a continuous state of more effectively organizing our space. All of it (basement storage, drawer, cupboards --everything)
  • 2 is better than 1 - I am so thankful Pam and I get to do this. She explains how things work to me, I help with those times of: 'it is overwhelming...are we going to be able to fit everything in there?' Plus I dry dishes :>)
  • Enjoy the moment - relax, drive slower, 'it will all work out', take stock and be thankful. Not everyone gets to do this. We have live here 14 years and never seen this beautiful area.
That's all for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles.
We are blessed

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Roadrunner Era Begins!

Yes! We bought our RV Friday and christened it 'The Roadrunner'. Over the course of the next few weeks this blog will be modified to be: The Roadrunner Chronicles

Yesterday we met the seller at the bank and took about 15 minutes to handle the paperwork.
We then drove about 3 miles away to his place and had some last minute items. We found out the connectors to the Blue Ox towing system, the RV, and the Honda did not match so no towing this time.
I took off with Pam following in the Honda. I drove about 45 miles and we checked into the campground. Only had a couple of wrong turns, one place where I slightly 'curbed' it. I thought of my brother Brad and what it must have been like when he went 'solo' for the first time. That was back in 1976 when he got his USAF pilot wings. (Probably not quite the same thing...)

After we found our campsite and got settle in. We sat down and enjoyed it for a bit.Then we hunted down a trailer hitch place to get an adapter for the Blue Ox cable connector and made a run to Bass Pro Shop. Later we had dinner and met some folks in the neighboring campsites.
We met Roosevelt and Dorothy and Tony.
Then met Linda, Tony's wife.
All very nice people. We got to talking with Tony and Linda and had a really good time with them.Our spot is near the water on two sides and we really enjoyed it.
How is this for a neat sunset. It was about 50 yards from our campsite and where Tony and Linda went fishing the next day. There are some big ones in there!
After dinner and talking some more we settled in for our first night as Full-timers.
More to follow from the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More moving & our new toad & saying so long

Sunday afternoon Adam got the word his room in the house down in Wash DC was open. We rented a U-Haul and went to work. We moved all of his things into it and found a way to get them all into his place.Monday Kelly packed up and joined some friends for their trip to Ireland for 10 days. After we dropped them off at Dulles we drove to Rockville MD and purchased our towable vehicle (toad) a 2009 Honda CRV.
Then Tuesday we heard the condo in Chesapeake had closed so that was a relief.
On Wednesday Pam cleaned up the Tacoma and we sold it to Pete and Roxanne. It was a great truck and was in great shape. Although Pam noticed the crack in the windshield....WHAT?... yep...first time we saw it. ----But we will get that fixed and it will be good as new. Interesting timing though. I am glad it showed up this week and not next week.
Meanwhile we are making the rounds and saying good bye-
At the Wednesday morning men's group I attend:
With Rudy at our bi-weekly IHOP breakfast
At a luncheon with our MITRE Project Management Team
As you can see it has been busy. But it is an exciting time! Next blog --the long anticipated purchase of our 40' Tiffin Allegro Bus!

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Graduation Day

Congratulations out there to all the 2009 graduates!
And especially to our favorite: Kelly!
After two years at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design.We arrived about 1230 and they had a delay so I took some extra photos of Adam to amuse myself.
There were about 300 graduates in the Fine Arts Department so it took a while for our girl take here turn to walk across the stage.
I was able to get a group shot of the other seven members of her graduating class.
Kelly looked a little disappointed (but not really) to find out that the rolled up paper they handed her was not really her diploma.
It was nice to get a shot in front of the colors (flags).
We got a group shot after she picked up her diploma. Then we headed to Stick Rice to celebrate with some good food.Only one thing missing: Pam. She was under the weather and MIA.
We took her in to the doctor on Friday night and he prescribed some antibiotics and bed rest. She is recuperating but was not quite at the 50% mark yesterday morning.
By evening she was feeling a little better but still down for the count. Today she looks more like her self but it will still take a few more days.

Also: be on the lookout for the launch of 'The Roadrunner Chronicles'...12 days...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Closings & Satellites

Friday I drove to Virginia Beach to close on the condo on Monday. I met Christine at her law office to complete the paperwork. It was about a 3 1/2 hour drive so I left early in order to make the 10 o'clock signing.
While I was in the area, I wanted to go by and talk with Ryan Gaboriault at Mobile Satellite Technologies. He is a sales engineer and knows a lot about how to get a Motosat Datastorm set up for the RV.
At a price tag of $5000+ we are not convinced we need something (a G-74 or G-75)that can allow us to get both internet and satellite TV on the same system. I am thinking Direct TV with my DomeGuard will work fine along with my broadband EDVO card on my laptop for internet connectivity.
But I am not sure. The more robust system is allow connectivity when dry camping / boondocking

While Ryan was explaining all this to me we spoke with Kirk Williams, the Director of Sales. He filled me in on the government clients who come to them --- FBI, Homeland Security, Fairfax County Fire Department etc. More to follow on this choice. I am leaning toward something more than an EDVO card but less costly than the whole satellite set up.Meanwhile, while I was on my way back from VA Beach, the new buyers did a walk-through of the house.
Late this morning, Pam and Kelly returned from Fort Worth but both paid a price. They pretty well spent and feeling under the weather. I put them to bed and headed off with Jeff (our realtor) to close on the house. Here is a group shot of the team that put it all together.
Big smiles all around for that one!

Now we are renters. The new owners were gracious enough to let us rent back a few days so we can purchase the RV and get set up. We will vacate in two weeks on the 29th.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Westward Ho!

We rented a 16' truck with a trailer for Kelly's household goods. After hitching it up and parking it in the driveway, we spent about 2 hours loading it. They great news is that it all fit! We were a bit concerned but there was even room to spare.
Another first was loading up Kelly's car onto the trailer. As she pulled it forward it seemed like she was going to go off the front end... but it turned out fine. It was thumbs up and they were on their way. Texas here we come!
After they left, I worked on the garage and on the yard some (after Adam mowed it!) then went over to Gil's for a BBQ. He had a very nice array of food for Al, Letisha, Jane and I. It was a beautiful afternoon. Letisha is an running buddy who is moving to Charlotte, NC and it was a good excuse to get together and say goodbye.While they were en route to Texas the next day, I stayed home and had the heating guys come out and finish up the last item on the Home Inspection Checklist. A faulty electronic air filtering system was repaired. After walkthough on Thursday, we should be ready for closing on Friday.Pam and Kelly left about 1:30 Sunday which was about 1/2 hour ahead of schedule. I thought they were going to drive for a couple of hours but they went about 360 miles (about 8 hours) the first day and stopped in Bristol TN.
On Monday they drove over 700 miles (12 hours) and stopped in Arkadelphia, AR. They left about 0830 Tuesday, drove the rest of the way (220 miles) to Fort Worth, then spent 3 hours unloading and putting things away in the storage unit. Whew! Pam and Kelly were pretty tired but have a couple of days to check things out in the Fort Worth/Dallas area. Then they fly back to Dulles for closing on the house (Friday) and Kelly's graduation on Saturday (Richmond).
Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Golf, Dinner, Garage Sale, Moving Prep

Friday I got to play some golf with friends from work. We participated in a 'scramble' charity event. Those kinds of tournaments are a lot of fun because you take the best of everyone's shot. We came in second place (out of 15 teams).
Later that evening we joined our friends for dinner: Pam, Duy & Lan, Min & Jean, Anh & David. Lan put on a feast--the Spring Rolls and fried rice were exceptional!
The 'good byes' have begun...
Saturday was back to the task at hand: our FINAL EVERYTHING MUST GO moving sale. This is the last three garage sales we have had over the last couple of months. The weather was great and we picked up over $250 so it was a good day.
Next: moving. Our house is emptying out while we have things in place to be loaded onto the Budget Rental truck. Our garage and living room are the current staging areas. Later this morning we will pick up the truck and get it loaded up so Pam and Kelly can head west. They hope to get going by mid afternoon so we will see it it works out that way.
These are exciting days! (Have I said that lately?)
It is critical that we keep a calendar and have a pencil nearby. We are keeping track of flights (return from Fort Worth) and other items:
  • warranty inspection repairs (heater),
  • graduation (Kelly's at VCU),
  • cleaning the house for the final 'walk through inspection',
  • closing on the house,
  • closing on the condo,
  • purchasing the RV, getting RV insurance quotes,
  • choosing the insurance,
  • staying at our first campsite with the RV,
  • moving the rest of our stuff from the house to the RV,
  • selling the truck,
  • buying the towable
  • etc
  • etc
In the midst of a very busy time, it is important to remember to enjoy the whole process. It can get stressful and a bit overwhelming, but these are special times and and we are on the verge of living our dream and we are very very grateful.

More to come...stay tuned

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

100 and counting - A Big THANK YOU

This posts marks 100!
It is hard to believe that since we started this 'experiment' it has grown to over 1600 readers. Of that over 300 are regulars.

Thanks for being a part of our adventure and sending the notes and comments along the way. The screen shot shows that we have readers in every state except Wyoming. How long will it take for us to fill in that state? June? July? Aug?

We will see... stay tuned.

Monday, May 4, 2009

South Dakota - Home Sweet Home!

We flew to Sioux Falls South Dakota to become state residents. Some of the reasons we chose South Dakota:
  • No state income tax
  • No personal propertay tax
  • 3% sales tax
  • No state inheritance tax
  • Low vehicle licensing fee
  • Low RV insurance rates

Sunday we flew out of Dulles and had a layover in Minneapolis Minnesota. Nice airport to hang out for a while. Then to our surprise we were invited to upgrade to first class on the leg to Omaha. Nice! We got a rental car and drove from Omaha NE to Sioux Falls SD. Our first appointment on Monday AM was Alternative Resources where we established an address with a PMB (Personal Mailbox).

We signed up with mail forwarding with Paul and then met Jessica who handles Vehicle Registration.
Paul also gave us a tour of the operation around his office and we met more folks in the mailroom. He showed us PMB #3196 which is our new address.Then we went next door to John Dougherty & Associates to get RV insurance quotes.
The Department of Motor Vehicle Office branch across the street is closed on Monday, so we went downtown to the Minnehaha County Administration office.
We filled out the application, took the eye test, got our picuture taken and handed over our Virginia Drivers licenses.
We returned to Alternative Resources where Robin helped us fill out the Voter Registration form. We spent the night at the Fairfield Inn which is listed on the voter registration form.
We also decided to open a bank account at Wells Fargo Bank (not pictured). It is now joined with Wachovia and will give us coast to coast coverage.
When Pam was in the Air Force, she went to Technical School training in Biloxi MS where she first met Steve and Therressa. Little did we know we would be come residents of the South Dakota 30 years later and spend time in there hometown.
They are perfect hosts and generous people. Before we got to town, they called and we met them at their beautiful home. From there we went over to the famous Sious Falls Park. What a neat place. We had a nice Mexican dinner Sunday evening and last night had hamburgers at their place. What a treat!
After dinner we took a windshield tour of the city and saw where they grew up and found out more about the city than we could even read on our own. It is a very impressive town that we will be proud to call home.
Before our evening was over we got to go out the the airport and Air National Guard area where Steve works. It was a wonderful day and a great way to end the evening.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Spatial estimates - bin storage

One of our tasks in the next three weeks is to move our clothes and belongings from the house into the RV. While we were in Virginia Beach last Sunday, I took some notes on the dimensions of the Allegro Bus closets, cupboards and 'basement' storage areas.
We already put away our desk, library and office supplies into bins. Bookcases, filing cabinets and drawers full of stuff have been reduced to a few see-through plastic boxes.
Now the hard part of finding homes for the clothes. We are cleaning out our bedroom closets and taking clothes out of drawers.

Somehow the stuff we have put into bins and storage containers will have to fit into the RV. Doesn't seem like 400 sq ft is all that much. Probably because it isn't. (I am thinking, "there ain't no way" so to speak).

But that is today's task - to put it all into bins and see what we have and how it compares with the sketches and notes I took.
And then probably make more trips to the Salvation Army in the next few days. And next Saturday is our 'Final Liquidation Garage Sale'. (We are starting to get the hang of these things.)

But before that, we'll be off to South Dakota to become residents of that great state. Look for our next post from Sioux Falls.