It’s official. We’re ready to do it. We’re getting ready to go to the mountains in Angel Fire, New Mexico for the rest of the summer…and possibly into fall.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know. You’re probably rolling your eyes while shaking a head filled with fulltime RVing knowledge saying,
What are they thinking? Aren’t they a little bit late finding somewhere to go for the summer?
Well, the definitive answer would be a resounding yes. But, wait before you shake your head again. We had a good reason for this late start. And, I promise I’ll try not to whine while I relay it to you.
We’ve had a home inspection business for many years that we’ve been trying to downscale. We have three very competent inspectors that work for us while we do the admin end…which can be done anywhere.
However, part of that admin end meant answering the phone…no matter where…no matter when…24/7. It was putting a definite crimp in our travels. It’s very frustrating to be in the middle of a conversation, dinner, sightseeing, etc. and have to stop whatever you’re doing and answer the phone. We finally said, “Enough is enough!”
We were questioning ourselves on what was the point of being retired if we couldn’t enjoy ourselves while on the road. We have nothing against working but we wanted (read as needed) to get this under control. So, now the majority of the business is being taken care of by one of our inspectors and we’ll continue in a very diminished role.
It is such a relief to know that when we set out for Angel Fire that the time is ours to do with as we please. This will allow both of us to concentrate on writing and seeing the sights around us…without the annoying ring of the telephone.
We’ve worked all our lives and we want to enjoy the years we have left, which hopefully, will be many. We moved into our RV over a year ago with every intention of traveling but found ourselves quite stifled, work-heavy and frustrated with the many demands of our business. It was either grow it larger or gracefully bow out.
Last week I spoke with one of the owner’s of the RV park where we’ll be staying in Angel Fire and she said that the temperature had gone down to 27 the previous night. She told us the rule of thumb was not to go anywhere in the evening without having a jacket handy to throw on.
This is refreshing news to us as our humidity and temperatures are steadily climbing into the triple digits. This was another reason we made the decision to move into an RV…so we could pick up and leave whenever the weather wasn’t conducive to our needs.
So, we are finally at the stage where we can “stop and smell the roses”. It’s taken us the first part of the summer to get the business in order and to get things squared away with VA.
However, the rest of the summer will be spent at 8,000 feet above where we are now and enjoying the mountains and valleys. We all know what that equates to. We’re looking forward to being in a relaxed mode and being able to jump in the car on a whim and set off for an exciting day filled with wonder and beauty.
Soon, we won’t have to keep reminding ourselves that we’re retired. It will be second nature to us and will probably prolong our lives by a good stretch…from my mouth to God’s ears!
One question before I sign off for the week. Do any of you have any advice for being in a higher altitude? This would include getting our bodies acclimated and adjusting how I cook.
Stay strong and steady with the wind always blowing at your back
as you travel down the road to your next adventure.
Until next week…keep creating Sentimental Journeyz in your RV.
The trip to Corpus Christi last week for the Pilot’s Navy Reunion was a much needed antidote from our long journey towards freedom to travel when and where we want in our RV. Sure, we came home exhausted but I think that was more from being jolted awake by an alarm clock…which is rarely used at home…and the constant talking and listening for four days. But what stories we came away with for our memory banks. These reunions are always an eye opener with the men revealing bits and pieces of their combat days never talked about before. Painful memories sometimes rush to the surface when there is a safe environment to catch them if they fall.
It was gratifying to see these former SAR (Search and Rescue) pilots and crewmen from the same squadron, gathered in one hotel in various rooms, talking about their missions and letting it segue into what they had been doing since the late 60′s. I learned a lot just standing against the wall under the guise of filming them for a later DVD. The looks on their faces spoke volumes. Animated at times and then sad at remembered memories or of members who didn’t make it to the reunion for one reason or another, the worst thought being that they would never attend a reunion again because of passing away. Time doesn’t stand still even for those who fought valiantly for our country. Reality intrudes time and again.
The Pilot had arranged a symposium of two pilots and two crewmen who retold the search and rescue mission that took place over 40 years ago. Before we got into that rescue, former Navy HS-6 Commanding Officer and pilot, Al Fox, gave a brief welcome. Al is the beloved commander that these men still look up to. I’ve heard time and again that he is the favorite of all their CO’s.
Al then introduced Vern Von Sydow, former pilot in the squadron, who literally cracked us up with his funny stories. Vern is a regular MC at our events because of his ease in talking with everyone. He knows the talks are going to get serious and does his part to keep the mood from going too dark.
The symposium was moderated by Tom Phillips, co-author of the book, Leave No Man Behind, which chronicles the many rescues by all military during the Vietnam war. With the maps spotlighted on the screen, Tom led us through Vietnam territory where the rescue missions took place. The map was a great visual and a tremendous help for us to fully understand the courage it took to go into enemy territory and rescue someone.
Bill Waechter was the pilot, who along with his crew, received the radio message that Rick Adams plane had been shot down in enemy territory and needed rescuing…ASAP…if not sooner. Roger Sitko and Russ Sprague were the crewmen aboard the helicopter. Some of the other members of the crew couldn’t make it to the reunion but the story unfolded with intimate details told by both pilots as each gave their own perspective of that rescue. It gave you chills to hear the dangers, told in the first person, that they encountered. Roger and Russ then told their perspective of the rescue and gave details of getting Rick into the helicopter as it slowly turned in circles.
I was struck by the fact that these very same proud servicemen, who had done well in life by anyone’s standards, were the very same young men who returned to our country and were vilified by our citizens. It meant nothing to many people that these men had risked their lives for the very people who were spitting on them and showing them absolutely no respect. These men didn’t ask to go into Vietnam but they were man enough to know that they had given their word to fight for their country and they weren’t going to renege on that agreement. They had pride in what they were committed to and it still showed in their stance.
For those Americans who felt compelled to hate these men and disrespect them, I often wondered why they didn’t do more to end that war. Water over the bridge but you can’t help but remember those times as you watch these men in their later years relay a history that is now being taught to those hateful American’s grandchildren. If you want to learn how to hold your head high with courage and respect, listen to these men as they talk and hear why you still live in a free country. Sorry…just a very sore point with me and a sad period in our history.
Side Note: Bill Waechter later told us at dinner that he had gone back to Vietnam several years ago. He didn’t tell anyone in Vietnam that he was a former soldier. He wanted to see the country where he had put his life in jeopardy to save fellow soldiers. After several days he told some Vietnamese about his history with the Navy. He said the Vietnamese people were very accepting of him and held no animosity…which was a great relief to him. They treated him with great respect…the same as he treated them. Peace was at work.
Another reason I love going to these reunions is the wives. These women are vivacious, loving and oh, so funny. They are a salve to any weary soul as they make you laugh at the stories of their lives. There isn’t a vain woman among them. They are down to earth and live in reality…a lesson learned from being married to a man at war.
Two of the women that I talked with had wonderful stories to share about living in their RVs. Their enthusiasm only reinforced what the Pilot and I had read and researched about RVing fulltime. They had hints and suggestions and recommended many campsites. They always relayed their adventures with big smiles on their faces. Later when I mentioned RVing to their husbands, their faces became one big smile too. We received many invitations to give them a call whenever we were in their area.
One of the Pilot’s flight mates and his wife, Ken and Helen Burns, have a keen interest in all things Civil War. You can imagine the conversations that took place at that mention. One of the many things on our bucket list is to travel the path of the Civil War…which wasn’t too civil when you read about it.
Ken and Helen recently discovered an old home named the Graffiti House at Brandy Station, VA. The Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863, was one of history’s greatest cavalry engagements with over 20,000 troops, including 17,000 cavalry, engaged in battle.
The Graffiti House was a field hospital for the South during local battles throughout the war and where soldiers from both sides took refuge until they were well and it was safe to travel again. While passing the time during their stay at this home, the soldiers would write their names and units on the walls and many times include drawings. The house was rediscovered in 1993, and volunteers have painstakingly removed layers of paint to reveal this graffiti. They have been able to preserve the original walls for the rest of us to see.
As I proof read the above I’m struck by how our lives are shaped by wars…past and present. While I would fervently wish no more wars, I live in reality and know that there are those who only know how to fight to accomplish what they want. I think I’ll make it my cause to get people to talk more to understand and fight less and kill to get the message across. I may only be one person but I’ll try to use my voice in ways of peace. I’m getting too old to fight and too tired to read about more killing.
Until next week, at the risk of sounding like a hippy, here’s to peace, love and understanding.
Every spring I think of Lady Bird Johnson and the legacy that she left Texas and the rest of the country in her beautification program. Even before they bloom I find myself counting the days until the Texas Bluebonnets start popping up in grand profusion along our roads. Alongside the bluebonnets are red Indian Paintbrush and brilliant pink Winecups. We are now in our prime time for Texas wildflowers.
Our first hint that the wildflowers are ready to bloom is the uncut grass on otherwise well manicured sides of the road as well as some businesses lawns. I revel in the beauty of these natural flowers and they make me smile…something that is needed more often than not these days.
So, when my daughter in-law Jamie called and asked if we wanted to go with them to look at wildflowers and take the kids annual picture, I told her we were game. We debated where to go. Should we go to Brenham where they are known for their fantastic wildflower displays and then stop at the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory for a tour? That was hard decision because we’re all hard core Blue Bell lovers…my favorite being Happy Tracks. Just thought you might want to know!
We finally agreed on working our way up to Conroe, which isn’t that far from where we live. Jamie knew of some spots along Highway 105 where there were thick patches of bluebonnets. With our plan cemented, I quickly thumbed through the manual to my new Nikon to see if I had missed anything. Yes…I had missed quite a lot but it wasn’t information that I was going to need for this trip.
The timing worked out beautifully since we had a couple of showings on the house and needed to be away. And, because there was a house showing, we took Bella with us. Of course, she just hates going everywhere with us…not!!! With one stop to park our truck in a shopping mall so that our driveway would look gigantic and quick potty call stop for Addie, we found what we were looking for.
Addie, age 4 1/2, got out of the car with a blanket in hand and quickly found a spot thickly filled with bluebonnets. She very efficiently laid the blanket on the ground and quietly sat down, smoothing the skirt of her dress. Looking back up at us, she smiled and then leaned over to smell a wildflower. I quickly snapped to and brought the camera up, ready to catch her in her photo shoot. These grandkids constantly keep me on my toes and this child knows how to work a photo shoot!
Luke, age 21 months, was more interested in the scenery than joining his sister for a photo.
He finally gave it a half shot just so everyone would stop calling his name!
It’s not easy being a model you know! And, this is also why I will never become a children’s photographer!
Luke suddenly noticed that Bella was on a leash. He’s always seen her freely walking about. Fascinated, he took the leash from me and started to walk away with her.
Bella started walking faster and Luke found himself tumbling, getting up only to tumble again. Giving it one more try, he finally gave up.
Looking disgusted, he turned the leash back over and went off to explore.
He thought the wildflowers smelled good and then found that they made a great hiding place.
After snapping over 60 some photos and kids getting restless, we decided to call it a day. A very profitable day I must say.
Maybe it’s because we’re so close to selling our house and getting ready to go fulltime in an RV that I’m noticing more and more about my beloved state. Are the wildflowers really more vivid in color and profusion this year? Does the grass appear greener? And, most importantly, is Blue Bell tailoring their ice cream to our tastes?
No matter what is going on, I’m seeing more of my state with my heart rather than with my eyes. The Pilot and I are getting older and with the passing of our family and friends, we are seeing our life…without rose colored glasses…and we’re enjoying it more and more.
Happy Tracks to you!
My son, Eric, keeps trying to boost me up the ladder of evolution whenever we talk. I can give him reasons (which he reads as excuses) on why I’m not doing a certain thing. For instance, in an article that I did several weeks ago titled, Can You Hear Me Now? I talked about how I just didn’t have time for Facebook, let alone, Twitter.
If I’m mumbling and you can’t understand what I’m saying, it’s because I’m now eating my previous words as I tell you how this has changed. I rejoined Facebook again for a business approach to the website. Yes, you heard me right. Stop rubbing it in! It’s all a work in progress but at least I know the direction I need to go to achieve my goal. Remember, the goal of my website is to chronicle our move from a sticks and bricks home to RVing fulltime and how we transition and live life on the road while having fun.
Off Topic Note: I don’t know of many from the Silent Generation (1925-1945) who are very silent. Yes, I know, they meant it in another context. However, I’ll repeat, I don’t know of many who are silent. They certainly do make their voices heard. I guess that would make the Pilot and I Silent Boomers…which is a oxymoron in itself…but certainly an accurate description of some of us. Dear Lord, don’t get me started on this new term. We could go crazy with descriptions! But, I digress…back to the original topic.
Yes, I also started a Twitter account. This is really new territory for me and, again, it’s from a business standpoint that I’m doing it. It’s all about marketing isn’t it? Eric just gave me a quick lesson about Tweeting. He told me that when you re-Tweet that the initials RT precede the repeated message. I had responded to something that I thought he’d said…which he didn’t. I thought that RT was the initials of one of his friends! Okay, roll over laughing. That all right. I’m sure you’ve never made any mistakes learning something new.
By the way…this is all courtesy of, and pushing by, Eric! He keeps bugging the Pilot and me about our sites and how we need to make them profitable since one of them has to do with our business that we’ll be doing on the road. Of course, computer-eze is his second language and I often times need a drink just to keep up with him. He keeps reminding me that he makes big bucks for the advice that he’s giving us for free. Of course, I don’t feel guilty because after all when you equate the dollars to the amount of pain I bravely endured during his birthing process, he still comes out owing me more! Can someone please pass me the wine?
To sum up how fast technology is changing and growing, let’s not forget the number of RV apps that you can now get for your iPhone and iPad. I’ve got nine because that’s the limit you can have in an organized file on your iPhone4…unless you create another file! However, when I first started looking for RV apps, there were only about 10 available. When I checked again this past weekend there were 73! Yup, there’s that many people who are out traveling either fulltime or part time in an RV. Of course, travelers by car can also make use of these handy apps.
In honor of this article and the mention of wine, I made a big batch of Bolognese sauce and actually put some of the wine in it rather than drinking it all. Well, actually I made it because the Pilot shared his sick bug with me and I wanted comfort food while I recuperated.