Monday, November 30, 2009

Getting rid of the old slides...

Well as my wife and I went out for the tail end of the black Friday shopping I came across a slide scanner at our local Kohl's.  It was made by Innovative Technologies and was under $50.00 bucks so I thought I would give it a try.  The other option was to go online and pay 29 cents per slide to have them do them for me.

Well the slide scanner was very easy to set up on my computer and was easy enough to use so I proceeded to turn slides into digital images one at a time.  The interface between the hardware and the software was not very sophisticated therefore the quality of the images produced from the slides was not the best of quality.  So I mostly focused on converting slides that had people in them and ignored converting those with scenery... after all I will have plenty of time to revisit all those locations and retake those shots with a digital camera :) .

Above is an example of a slide converted into a digital picture.  Photoshop was used to remove the obvious blemishes and spots on the slide but as you can see the clarity is not all that great.  The picture is one of me and my trusty dog, Fred, in 1981 on top of enchanted rock in central Texas.  Enchanted rock is the second largest exposed batholith in the United States with the other being Stone Mountain in Georgia (on my list as a place to visit).  One more task can now be checked off the list of downsizing and reducing our stuff... next up is converting the LP's into digital music!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving and such...

Well here we are on Thanksgiving day and wondering what we will do since neither of our kids are coming to our house for the holiday.  So this is what it will be like on the road during a holiday...just another day! 

We have decided to help a friend prepare her thanksgiving meal where she feeds a lot of our single friends along with some of the married couples with no kids that we know.  So with our help and some wine we will help prepare a feast for many of our friends.  I see this as practice for when we go to RV parks during the holidays since as many have blogged that the RV'ers generally have some sort of pot luck event with their RV'ing friends.  So to all of you out there have a great Thanksgiving and don't eat too much!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekends and workdays...

Well here I am again sitting at the computer reading blogs of fulltimer's and their journeys longing for "my turn" when it got me to thinking.  I am sitting here relaxing and enjoying the last few hours of my weekend.  I return to my job tomorrow on one of those dreaded Mondays...  But as I sit here, I realize that soon there won't be a difference between a Sunday and a Monday once we retire.  Everyday will be the same!

The only way I will know it is a weekend in the future is that the campgrounds will be fuller and the stores more crowded between 8 and 5.  What a wonderful thought that is...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Research and Ponderings...

Well the research continues and if you haven't figured it out by now I am an information and data junkie.  Rarely do I make a decision that hasn't been thoroughly researched to death ... as my wife would say.  This has been the method that works best for me.  Now having said that you might think I am not a risk taker and if you thought that you would be very, very wrong.  What I am is a calculated risk taker!  So I will research RV's and the opportunity to full time in them to death but will eventually come to a point at which we will either buy an RV and full time or go on to plan B.  However, plan A looks too appealing at this time.

So a big part of my early research is simply discussing all the information I am reading about in fulltimer's blogs about the lifestyle with my wife.  We usually walk 3 miles or so up to 5 times a week.  During these walks I share the information I am gathering and solicit her feedback paying very close attention to the non-verbal cues she is giving off.  It is these non-verbal cues that give me the most information.

For example, I recently shared my thoughts about us being able to boondock and explained to her what that meant.  Non-verbal cues (NVC's) gave me reason to believe that this intrigued her as well... so I went on.  I talked about getting the rig hooked up for solar... her NVC's seemed positive... I further talked about the limitations of water and dumping that we would have to adhere to if we were to boondock... other than "Eeewwww" when mentioning black water dumping her NVC's were good... but when I described the way you need to conserve water by taking a "sailor's shower" her NVC's went south in a hurry.... mental note - must have large water holding capacity for boondocking.

So you see not all the pertinent information can be found in the written word, much of it lies in the NVC's of your spouse or significant other so pay very close attention to them! I am...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Decisions, decisions and more decisions...

While I continue to toil on the thought of which RV might best fit us in our future lifestyle I always come back to either a 26-29 foot class C or a 30 to 32 foot class A.  Now either way we will be purchasing a used vehicle so I continue to research what the gotchas are in the used RV market.

Number one gotcha is delamination!  What is delamination?  Well according to wikipedia - Delamination is a mode of failure for composite materials.  So what does that mean to me?

First the history: Long ago RV builders changed the way they did construction.  They began putting smooth fiberglass exterior walls on RV's that were constructed by sandwiching fiberglass with the frame's structure and other materials.  Each of the layers were held together with adhesives making a single bonded wall which decreased the cost of building the walls and also provided for better aerodynamics and they just looked better :).  But as time passed some had noticed the early models started having problems with the bonded layers of the wall coming apart or delaminating.

So to avoid buying an RV with delamination one needs to look for evidence of bubbles or blisters on the sidewalls.  Now remember delamination is usually caused by moisture getting between the layers resulting in the bubbles or blisters.  They also may cause cracks so look for these too.   And since moisture is the culprit causing the damage look for signs of moisture leaks in and around the windows, vents and any other exterior openings.  Discolorations on the ceiling may also be a sign of future trouble.

Moisture on the inside is the enemy so make sure the used RV you are buying does not have any signs of moisture on the inside.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Man we have a LOTS OF STUFF!!!! So not too long ago I asked my wife to walk through the house with me and look at each room in detail.  Our task was to answer some questions:

1. look in this room and what in here can you just not part with - Absolutely Must Haves!
2. of the remaining stuff what would you like to store or give to family for safe keeping - Could Keep!
3. of the remaining stuff what should we sell - Sell it!
4. any stuff remaining should be thrown away or given away to someone who could use our old stuff. Toss it!

Well we went to the dining room first and it went something like this:

"I really like our antiques but we could give them to one of our kids"  ... I agree.
"Then there is the china and silverware we have ... I guess we could give that to the kids too..."  ... I agree.
"Well I guess there really isn't anything in here I MUST have" ... I agree.

On to the living room.... we could sell the piano and all the furniture and our books and TV, sound system etc... "Well I guess there really isn't anything in here I MUST have" ... I agree.

Amazingly we go through each of our rooms and we surprised ourselves by coming to the overall conclusion that there really wasn't hardly anything we had in our house that we just couldn't part with.  Then it struck us -Why do we have all this stuff if it isn't really of importance to us?  The only obvious answer we came up with was because we had a "stick" house.

I think it is going to relatively easy for us to part with our stuff and move into an RV.  It wasn't until we went through this exercise until we fully realized that traveling in an RV is not only a dream but could become a reality.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

To stuff a class B or an A... that is the question????

So there is little doubt that if we were to purchase a used Class A it would be larger and provide us more living space.  It would also provide us more storage and more capability for hauling a greater amount of stuff.  There in itself lies the problem for us.... we have a LOTS OF STUFF!!!!

I have been contemplating retirement for some time and had already challenged my bride to help in getting rid of stuff we no longer needed or wanted.  So for the last two years we have been tossing stuff into the trash can on our trash day.  So every Wednesday I would look into our trash can and see how much space it had left for unwanted stuff.  Every week for the past two years we have been filling up the left over space.  Now I want to tell you we have gotten rid of a lot of stuff!

So why do we still have too much stuff?  It appears we have finally gotten to the point that the stuff we have left has some value ... either perceived or real.  So now our dilemma is what stuff do we have left that we won't need in an RV?  And that too is a lot of stuff... but that is another story....

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The ABC's of RV's...

There are two major types of RV's - motorized and non-motorized.  The only non-motorized RV's one can consider as a full timer is the the fifth wheel or fiver and the towable trailer. Both of these require heavy duty trucks to tow them so both of these are not a consideration for us if we were to full time in an RV.

Motorized RV'S are generally the preferred choice of many full timers in the USA. They weigh from 15,000 to 35,000 pounds and can be as long as 40 plus feet in length. The biggest are the Class A units which have all the comforts you would expect in a "stick" home without the grass to mow. They are usually on a 3-10 ton truck chassis and will typically have many slideouts. Class A motorhomes range in price from $100,000 to $500,000 an d can be even much higher.

Class B motorhomes or van conversions are the smallest RV's. Constructed on a van chassis they generally weigh less than 8,000 pounds and are usually less than 19 feet in length.  These are generally considered too small for full timing in.

Class C homes are kind of like mini-class A's since they are simply scaled-down versions of them. They weigh from 10,000 to 13,000 pounds and are from 20 feet to 31 feet long. These are mostly on a larger van chassis which explains why the driver area is like that of a van. Class C motorhomes range in price from $50,000 to around $150,000.

Class A motorhomes are too expensive and too large for us.  Class B's are too small.  We really don't want to have to buy a huge truck so that really only leaves us with a Class C.  This will call for further research!