Our first week as Houseless but not homeless

Well, it’s official as of last Friday we are fulltimers which is when we surrendered our keys to the sticks and bricks world.  This morning marks the seventh day we’ve awoken on The Gump without a “safety net” to return to.  So how’s it been so far you might be asking yourselves?  Short answer, stressful from the start but hopefully as week two dawns, the stress begins to abate as we settle into our routine.

We luckily picked the hottest possible time to move out of the air conditioned world of a sticks and bricks house.  The temperatures last week and this in Phoenix was in triple digits with an average somewhere right around 115 with little relief overnight. 

We picked up The Gump and parked him at Estrella Mountain Regional Park which was close, as the crow flies, to the house.  The two nights before we turned over the keys let us get the flock settled and gave us someplace to sleep as the last of our worldly possessions was removed, more on that in another blog post.  Estrella Mountain is hot and there are no mature mesquite trees to provide any relief for RV campers. 

The stage is now set for Sunday morning, when we pack up and head to Tucson for three weeks.  Tucson is a good stopping off point, big enough to let us donate if we were overly optimistic about what would and would not fit and had a pool and reservation availability over the holiday weekend.  So, my parents stop by and we say a tearful goodbye and then off we head to Tucson. 

We check in, pull in, and begin to settle in when Dave suddenly realizes “OH CRAP”.  “Hun, did you stow the satellite before we pulled out?”   My face crumbles in terror as I realize, “No, oh good heavens I completely forgot.”  Panic ensues as we turn on the satellite receiver and nada, go outside and discover the dish bent in half.  Dave climbs onto the roof and unbends the dish but to no avail.  The receiver and the dish just aren’t communicating.


At this point, we are each blaming ourselves and Dave is in flat out stressed to the max.  We have the unspoken agreement that only one of us is allowed to freak out at a time and so, I remained calm.  So, while sweating in The Gump which has not yet cooled down I sent out emails to Winegard and La Mesa (which just happens to be across the street).  After doing all we can do, we finally go get something to eat for the first time all day and try not to focus solely on the destroyed satellite dish.

Monday morning rolls around and bright and early I hear from our service advisor.  A tech is here in less than an hour and confirms that yep, it’s broke but he does share good news.  While the satellite may be a complete loss there is no structural damage to the roof.  We quickly get a quote and an appointment for Wednesday morning.  We decide to board Leo at PetSmart because he would not handle sitting in the service center reception area well. 

Yesterday, went smoothly and the satellite was repaired quickly and faster than than time we were quoted.  Only really damage was to finances, which while painful and will hurt for a couple of months, it wasn’t catastrophic.  The Gump and his family are now settled in for the remainder of the stay in Tucson.  I need to finish putting away things that got stowed in the office for “later” and we need to forgive ourselves. 

Lesson learned, not eating and extreme temperatures is a combination designed to make us fail.  We are adding to visual reminders to The Gump specific to the satellite.  We are adding a small wind chime to the railing on the front door and a ribbon to the handle on the utility cabinet where the satellite control box is located.  If either of those two items are still attached they will be obvious in the future before we close up and lock up to travel.  No system is fail proof but it’s a better, more reliable chance than non-visual reminders.

So, week one is complete and boy howdy was it a learning experience.  It was a definite speed bump but we handled it.  I’m proud to say that despite the heat, stress, and unexpected financial impact we didn’t lose our tempers with one another and we never blamed one another.  There has been one other lesson this week but I will save that for another post.  For now, The Gump is healthy, whole, cool, and his family is in-tact.  All is good with the world.


Decision Made, Implementation Begins



Pickles reporting once again on the events of this week.  Thursday saw my crazy parents once again abandon me to watch Disney Junior while they went out and about to do things.  As you can see from Dad’s picture they were having a grand time while I was trapped inside at home alone with just the dogs for company!


Something about today was different though, they came home smiling and relieved.  It appears that some big decision has been made and that they are happy about it.  Guess in time I’ll figure it out but if it means they are done disappearing for hours at a time in the middle of the week I’m all for it.


Dave is happy and goofy in the picture above because Pickles is right, we have finally come to a decision on which coach is right for us.  We looked at another Alfa but quickly ruled it out, followed by some older Winnie’s.  Then we looked at a 2002 London Aire and it by far was the best (for us) used coach we’ve seen in terms of space, interior layout and colors.  The price was right for immediate purchase as well.  It had all the little touches but it also needed a lot of work.


PhototasticCollage-2015-10-24-07-16-43  I’m not going to lie, I love the green’s and blues throughout this coach but not enough to settle for the sake of interior color schemes.


After lunch we went to look at a couple of new and used Newmar’s down the road.  The journey has ended my friends, no more endless searching for possibilities.  We looked at a used 2004 Mountain Aire and it was nice, very nice but had the interior layout I’m least fond of (kitchen up front).  However, the 2015/2016 Newmar Dutch Star 4369 and the Newmar Ventana 4369 or 4002 are the choices we’ve agreed upon.


WP_20151022_020  The layout on the 4369 and 4002 has the kitchen in the middle and plenty of interior light without flipping on switches.  They don’t have the sparkly dungeon interior that drives me batty, in fact they felt like home without needing a lot of modification work to feel that way.


WP_20151022_021  I’m admittedly not overly fond of the booth set-up but that’s an option we can change out relatively painlessly.  Although, as we sat there and talked about things we did come up with some potential uses and reasons to go with the booth option.  Time will tell on that one. 


Overall, Thursday’s outing was MUCH more productive and satisfying that Wednesday’s.  We have a plan, we have a budget, and we know what we need to do going forward.  Now the “hard” part begins, saving money and dealing with knowing we will begin the fulltime lifestyle only after dealing with tragedy.  Double edge sword but also gives us a clean break and something to look forward to when it does happen.