In Pursuit of Unique Places and Fine Art Photographs

Woody's Travel and Pictures

It Was a Struggle Covering the Beast

We did some research and found a cover for the RV.   Those things are not cheap! Then I looked on YouTube to find out how to put the cover on the RV.  All you have to do is lay it out on the ground and roll it up and pull it up on the … More →

We did some research and found a cover for the RV.   Those things are not cheap!

Then I looked on YouTube to find out how to put the cover on the RV.  All you have to do is lay it out on the ground and roll it up and pull it up on the RV.

When we got to the barn, we found that the floor was very dirty.  All kinds of dust and fine dirt and bird poop!  In addition, there was not a space large enough to lay out the cover.  So we just took it out of the box and tried to pull it up on the top of the RV.

But it just wasn’t that simple!  Straight out of the box the cover was not folded to pull one end up on the top.  No, it was folded the way that was easiest for the manufacturer.  So, we tied a rope on it and tried to pull it up over the side.  But I couldn’t hang far enough over the side to pull it straight up.  So I couldn’t get it over the top corner.

So we went back to the ladder and I pulled on the rope while Annette pushed from below and we finally got it on the roof!  Hip hip hooray!

But, wait!  It was not that simple!  Imagine the amount of fabric involved.  10 foot up the front.  34 foot long and 10 foot down the back.  Whoa!  54 feet of fabric!  But then you have to remember that it was also 30 feet wide!

So, just picture this.  A man, who is afraid of heights, on top of a 12 foot high RV, trying to unravel all of that fabric and figure out which was the front, which was the back, which was the inside, which is the out side of the cover, which was the left, which was the right.

Don’t forget that this was mid-January and the temperature was below freezing!  My poor fingers!

We should have taken a time lapse video.  It would have been hilarious!

It took us more than an hour for a 20 minute job!  But we stuck to it and finally got the cover in place.  I vowed to myself that we would fold it and roll it up to make it easier next time.

 

Now What?!?

So, in the last post, you found out that we brought our RV home on December 28th. It’s the dead of winter.  It’s really cold outside.  The RV has a heater, but very few campgrounds are open this time of year, this far north. So what should we do with...

So, in the last post, you found out that we brought our RV home on December 28th.

It’s the dead of winter.  It’s really cold outside.  The RV has a heater, but very few campgrounds are open this time of year, this far north.

So what should we do with this monstrous thing?  It’s taking up half the driveway.  Now we have to make sure that if Annette is leaving first in the morning, her car is the one nearest the end of the driveway.

So I started asking around about a storage area and, lo and behold, the dad of a coworker has a huge pole barn and he was willing to rent out a corner to us.

So, on January 16th, we took the RV over to his placed and backed it into the barn.

But, wait!  It wasn’t quite that easy.

The barn is “L” shaped and there is a door opening between the two legs of the “L”.  So we backed into the first leg of the “L” and up to the door opening.  Wait, careful!  It doesn’t look like the RV will fit through the opening!  What now???!!!

That didn’t faze the barn owner one bit!  He just grabbed a ladder and a chain saw and quickly made the opening large enough for the RV!  What???!!  He just cut up the barn!!

Finally, with a little jockeying, we got the RV into place.

Oh, look!  There’s 3 hogs and about 8 little piglets!  Ain’t they cute!  What!  There’s more.  There’s a cow and a mule!

But, it’s OK.  they are in the other part of the barn.  But, they will kick up a lot of dirt and dust.  I think the RV is going to get covered.

It took forever!

In my last post, Annette and I had made a deal with the owners to buy their 2006 Newmar Ventana 3330.  The catch was that they wanted to complete the transaction before the end of the year to save on property taxes. Since we were starting into the fi...

In my last post, Annette and I had made a deal with the owners to buy their 2006 Newmar Ventana 3330.  The catch was that they wanted to complete the transaction before the end of the year to save on property taxes.

Since we were starting into the financing process with 8 weeks, it shouldn’t be a problem.  Right?

We went in to the bank and applied for the Home Equity Loan on the first Friday in November.  We told the loan officer that we had to close by the end of the year.  She said that although they had just completed a loan sale and had lots of applications, it shouldn’t be a problem.

When we called three weeks later, they hadn’t started on our application!  They were working on their backlog.

Then they had to do their credit check and a drive-by appraisal of our home.  We waited for those and finally they were received and everything looked good.

In December there were three periods of three days each that we had to endure.  They had us sign some papers and then made us wait the three day right of recision period until we could sign some other papers and wait another three day right of recision period.  Then we had closing and we had to wait another three day right of recision period until we could get the check.   These were working days, too!  So it took longer than 9 calendar days to work through these hold-ups.

I guess they just didn’t want us backing out!

Finally, on December 28th, 2015, we took the check down to the previous owners and brought our baby home!

Three days to spare.  Time enough for one more right of recision period!

Right Side

Annette just HAD to keep looking!

So after the embarrassment of backing out of the deal from the RV show, Annette didn’t give up on her dream.  Almost everyday she dreamed of life on the road traveling the USA and taking pictures.  And, part of that dream was to look at motorhomes fo...

So after the embarrassment of backing out of the deal from the RV show, Annette didn’t give up on her dream.  Almost everyday she dreamed of life on the road traveling the USA and taking pictures.  And, part of that dream was to look at motorhomes for sale online.

“Hey, Woody, look at this one!”

“Hey, Woody, look at that one!”

“Here’s a cool one!”

I have to admit, I got into it a little bit, myself.  I found myself looking at RV’s online.  I really liked the Monaco Vestas;  good construction, futuristic styling.  But, WOW!  Their prices were staggering.

One day toward the end of October, Annette found an RV that looked promising and it was only an hour and a half from home.  So, I agreed that she should call them.  So, she did and, since the next day was Saturday, we went to see it.  It turns out that the ad was placed that Friday and we were the first ones to see it!

It was a 2006 Newmar Ventana 3330.  A 33 foot diesel pusher with some nice accessories like a larger generator, dual paned windows, two Fantastic fans, larger heater/AC units, larger inverter and Michelin tires with only 2,000 miles on them!

The guy that owned it babied it.  He had a garage at his house with high ceiling and tall garage door.  This RV was kept in the garage (heated to 50 degrees in winter)  all year round!

The motorhome looked like it was 9 months old instead of 9 years old!  It was in beautiful condition!

And it was the right size for us.  It was big enough without being too big.

But this time, before we signed on the dotted line, we were going to think about it.

However, we better think fast.  By the time we arrived to see the RV, the owner had gotten several calls and a guy in Michigan was going to fly in and see it the next Saturday.

So we thought and we thought.  Finally, we agreed that this one was too good to let slip away.

So, since I couldn’t make it after work, Annette went down on Wednesday night and negotiated a deal with the owners.

We were going to be RV owners after all!

But there were some constraints.  Because of the personal property tax in Virginia, the owners wanted the deal to happen before December 31st!  That didn’t seem too bad.  It was the first week in November, so we had nearly eight weeks.

Next post, I will tell you about our dealings with the bank and their total lack of a sense of urgency.

Until then!

 

Right Side

 

A BIG Step…Well, almost.

We’ve been thinking.  Should we go with a fifth wheel or a motorhome?  We went back and forth several times. It seems when we ask a salesman which way to go, the first question that they ask is, “Do you have a truck?”  Well, no, we don’t have a truck...

We’ve been thinking.  Should we go with a fifth wheel or a motorhome?  We went back and forth several times.

It seems when we ask a salesman which way to go, the first question that they ask is, “Do you have a truck?”  Well, no, we don’t have a truck.  Then they suggest a motorhome.

Both options are about the same price.  You can put $60K to $70K into a fifth wheel and then need another $50-60K for a full size pickup (F350, Diesel).  Then you need some work to get the truck ready for towing.  It could be an easy $130 grand!

If you look at the entry level Class A motorhomes you will see some stickers that will shock you:  $150k and up.

So we thought we would go to an RV show and check out all of the options and see what appealed to us.  As luck would have it, last September, there was a large RV show in Hershey, just an hour from home!  Let’s go!

So Annette and I went and we saw lots of cool things.  The fifth wheels were nice, but we liked the Class A motorhomes better.  Some guys love to drive around in their manly pick-up trucks, but to me pickups are unwieldy gas hogs.  And it we are going to go to National Parks with their tiny parking spaces at the attractions, we need a car or small SUV.

So we wandered around the RV show and finally ended up in the lot of the dealer with the Newmars. We like the construction of the Newmars and think that they are some of the better motorhomes.

So we started talking to one of the salesmen about a Bay Star 3401 and we priced it out with the options that we thought were necessary.  It was $150K, but there were special show sales incentives and the price came down to where it was palatable!  So, wouldn’t you know it, we signed on the dotted line.  The motorhome was going to be built in the spring and we would be RV owners before you knew it!

But then we went home and thought about it over night.  It just didn’t feel right.  We were still two years from retirement.  The RV would depreciate by two years before we even got out on the road!  So we talked about it in the morning and I had to called them and cancel the contract.

It was embarrassing to think that people would think that we didn’t even know our own minds!

Better that than being over $100K in debt and worrying about it!

 

 

A Little History of Us and of Our Past Travels

So how long have we been thinking of retirement and RVing?  The short answer is…A long time! Twenty-three years ago we moved to the small town that we are still in.  At first Annette was excited about the move and interested in finding all of the thi...

So how long have we been thinking of retirement and RVing?  The short answer is…A long time!

Twenty-three years ago we moved to the small town that we are still in.  At first Annette was excited about the move and interested in finding all of the things that were new to us.  But then she found that there was just no opportunities in her field.  She had been working in a state-of-the-art facility, which was certified to the highest levels.  That was not what was here.

She tried working at a prominent facility and enjoyed the work, but there was shift work involved and it was an hour away from home.  She tried working a management position on days, but again it was an hour away.  So her career has taken a back seat.  She is telecommuting now.

So we raised two boys and got them out on their own.  They are 28 and 30 now.  They are also 1½ hours away and 9½ hours away.  So we don’t get to see them as often as we would like.

If we have children who are 28 and 30 years old, you can do the math and figure out that we are in our 50’s.

And we have faithfully worked our jobs and saved our money into the 401(k).

And we have faithfully dedicated ourselves to each other.  We have been married for over 34 years now and we are still not tired of each other!  Go figure!

For me, retirement is so near that I can nearly taste it!  It’s so tempting that one of these days, I might just say, “Forget that!” and quit.  (Fortunately, I am mature enough that I know I can’t do that unless the time is right.)

After the boys were gone, we started to travel more.  We’ve had some great vacations.  Here’s some of the places we’ve gone:

  • Bar Harbor, ME – Photo workshop
  • Bar Harbor, ME – with my Mom
  • Outer Banks, NC – Photo workshop
  • Outer Banks, NC – Family vacation
  • Assateague and Chincoteague – Several times
  • Charleston, SC
  • Orlando area, FL
  • Oregon coast and Columbia River
  • Puerto Rico
  • Isle of Skye, Scotland – Photo workshop
  • UK and Wales – Twice, we extended work related trips
  • Seattle, WA and Olympic Peninsula
  • Tucson, AZ and Silver City, NM
  • Phoenix, AZ, Flagstaff, AZ and Grand Canyon
  • Denver, Co
  • Black Hills of SD – Photo Workshop
  • Death Valley, CA – Photo Workshop
  • Washington, DC – Multiple times, (It’s only 2 hours from home.)
  • Baltimore, MD – Multiple times, (It’s only 2 hours from home.)
  • Louisville, KY – Multiple times (Our son has lived there the last 3 years.)

So, I guess the point is that our history includes some travel and that we still want to do more.

But, when each trip is limited to one week, you can only catch the highlights.  And that’s only if your timing is good and the weather and traffic cooperate.  Our thought is that being retired and in the RV, we can stay in an area until we have exhausted all of the interesting sites and activities.