Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Friday, April 30, 2010


It was a great feeling this morning knowing that I would not be hearing that alarm clock again. I'm sure there will be times we will still need to set the alarm; but for now, it has been silenced :)

Yesterday after school, the staff had a going away party for me. Many of the teachers and support staff attended. It was a very nice party. They decorated the tables in the library with candles and seashells in anticipation of our traveling to warm climates in the winter. They presented me with a wallet full of gift cards for gas, Starbucks, McDonalds, Arbys, Kohls and Wal-Mart. So many people here are really nice. It's a shame I had to work with the nastiest person in the building. If not for her, this would be a nice place to work. But, in 6 more hours she is history!!!!

I spent last night going through all our stuff in the house one more time to make sure I wasn't leaving anything behind by mistake. We have closed off one bedroom and put the things we are going to store at our son's house in that room. The estate sale people will be coming on Monday to prepare. The sale will be at the end of the week. We'll see how that goes. I'm not expecting much money. We're just happy to be getting rid of what is left. And, my mom is bringing several boxes of her things to sell. She has a ton of stuff and every little bit we can sell now will help later :)

Tonight, Kevin and I will be spending our first night in the camper as full-timers. Champagne is a must :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Thanks to readers Ken and Nanette for their kind comments regarding yesterday's post. Their words brought everything back into perspective. This part of their comment especially rings true:

"life by purpose rather than the circumstances the world would have you live it by"

That says it exactly. We are tired of buying into what the media, society, and the government want us to believe is the life for us. We know what we want the purpose of our lives to be, and what we were doing wasn't cutting it for us anymore. That's not to say we weren't happy with the life we have led to this point. There's not much I would change, but it is time to move forward. I'm feeling better :)

Please don't think that I am whining or feeling sorry for myself. I fully realize how fortunate we are to follow our dream. I'm just being as honest as I can be so that others contemplating this lifestyle can more fully understand not only what we have done, but some of the feelings involved.

Something happened this week that again confirms our decision to live life to the fullest. Kevin's cousin, Todd, died at the age of 53. They are very close in age, and the two of them spent a lot of time together as kids. He died of natural causes; went to sleep Sunday night and never woke up. Another reminder that life can be short, and you never know what's around the corner. The funeral is tomorrow. My heart goes out to his entire family!!

For some reason the following words to a song keep going through my head :)

"I'm free, I'm free"

I don't know any of the other words or who sings it. But, it feels good just singing that part over and over. If anyone knows who sings it, please let me know. I'd like to see what the rest of the lyrics are :)

I'm glad we were able to still be in our house this spring. The crabapple tree is blooming, and the lilacs are getting close. I'm happy to be able to enjoy the spring beauty of our yard one last time!

"The truth is I love being alive. And I love feeling free." Angelina Jolie

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I'm feeling really emotional today! I really don't understand it. I'm so happy and excited to start living our dream, but I think I've just been on overload this week.

Kevin doing the camphosting thing, and I've been home trying to tie up the loose ends. I'm not complaining. It's just rather overwhelming right now.

I have this nagging feeling of guilt that doesn't want to go away. I think it's because people look at me like I'm nuts when I tell them what we're doing. Many tell me they are envious. Today someone told me he wishes he was as brave as we are. But, that look they give me tells me they think we're nuts. It's the fear thing. What if it doesn't work out. Are we crazy and selfish? I don't think so, but that little nagging voice is still there.

What's really dragging me down is these last days at work. The nasty witch I work with is really ratcheting up her nastiness. She is super masterful at being snide. Her comments are never directly made to me, but to others when she is sure I can hear them. She is the most masterful manipulative, back-stabbing, evil person I think I have ever encountered. I'm not kidding!! I have tried to be positive and not let it bother me. Being subjected to her torture daily just wears me down sometimes. But, only 2 days left. I can do it! I wish I was the kind of person who could just say "kiss my @#!" but it's just not in me. Once I'm out that door, I will never think of her again!!! I have wasted too much time dwelling on her evil ways. I'm done with that!!!

I had a question in the comments yesterday from some readers about the car we sold. We had sold a car on Craigslist and the person paid for it in full and told us he would come with a friend to pick it up the next day which was a Sunday. He never called Sunday, and when I called him, I got voicemail. Well, he called late Monday and said he had misplaced his cell phone. We finally met him Tuesday night and did the trade.

Our reader Merikay asked about the estate sale person. Once we are all done with that, I'll write a detailed entry about how that went. It has not been an easy experience, but I think it will work out.

Thanks for your kind comments. I really do appreciate hearing from all of you!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Busy, Busy

Wow, this week is a whirlwind. After a few relaxing days last weekend, it was time to swing into action.

Since the weather was not very nice last weekend, I came home around noon on Sunday. Kevin is staying at the campground to do camphosting duties. I got a lot accomplished on Sunday.

We are working on a project for the camper. We are building a desk. I saw one some other fulltimers were discussing in a forum recently. They bought it from an Amish furniture maker in Indiana. It has two end cabinets that sit on either side of the dining table under the windows. There is a piece of wood that goes over the back of the table connecting the two ends. The top is 12 inches wide so we lose some of the dining table, but we gain a place to keep the laptop, printer and two cabinets for more storage. If we pull out the leaf on the table, we can still seat four. The cost from the Amish company was $800. We found some cabinets and bought an oak board and are making our own for around $200. The pieces were all unfinished so I did some staining when I got home Sunday. Once it it finished, I'll post some pictures. I also packed up everything else except the Christmas items.

I currently have 3 bins for our son to store. I think I will have 1 or 2 more after finishing with the Christmas items and a few other things. I packed a box of kitchen items for our son in Minnesota. He is moving into a new apartment and is losing the roommate that had the kitchen stuff. I also did laundry. I was really tired by evening.

We also decided to sell Kevin's bobbleheads on ebay. I wish we would have thought of that a little earlier. I sold almost all of them, but have spent the last two evenings packing them all for shipping.

I spoke to the estate sale woman today. She still hasn't given me an exact date. She is going to contact the newspapers tomorrow to see when she has to have the ads in and will set the date based on the ads. I hope this all works out!

I've also been very busy at work getting everything done before I leave on Friday. Only 3 days to go!!!!! I am getting so pumped :)

Next time I'll discuss some other last minute technology details we're taking care of.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

First Blog Posting From RV

This is the first time I am posting to this blog from the RV. It feels gooood! We are camping at Derge County Park in Beaver Dam, WI. We got here around noon yesterday.

Back in February when we thought we had sold the house, I had called the Dodge County Parks office to see if they had length of stay restrictions in their parks. We were looking for a place to stay for the summer. After explaining our situation to the woman, she asked if we would be interested in camphosting. Well, that sounded like a great idea to us. I quickly put together a resume for us, filled out the application and before we knew it, we were on board.

We are actually "volunteer" camphosts as we don't get paid. Our site, electricity and firewood are free. We can arrive as early in spring as we want and leave as late in fall as we want without paying any camping fees. Our job is being "eyes and ears" in the campground, helping sell firewood, renting canoes and answering questions. We have agreed to be available 3 hours a day, five days a week. However, whenever we are in the park, it is understood we will answer questions and help out if needed. We met our boss, Mike, yesterday. He seems very nice and laid back. It seems this will work out great. Time will tell.

It's raining and cold outside. I'm nice and warm in my cozy home. Isn't this great!!! I have done some organizing of storage space. There is plenty of storage in our new home. We only have a few more items to put in the camper. We should have no problem fitting everything in. Now, if we can only find everything :)

I made an appointment for the septic and well inspector to come on Monday, May 3rd. That will be the last step for us as far as inspections go. We don't see any reason for problems, as we have never had any issues with our system. Keeping my fingers crossed all goes well with that inspection. Otherwise, we are on track for closing.

One more week of work and I am FREE!!! Can't wait. If things outside clear up a bit later, I'll take some pictures of our new home to post next time.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Packing

Last night I worked on getting the kitchen packed. Kevin brought all the kitchen stuff from the camper into the house, and I went through everything from both kitchens to pick out the best items. Just how many spatulas does one household need anyway :) I have narrowed it down and today Kevin will pack it all back into the camper. Our son, Korey, will be moving into a new apartment next month and needs some more kitchen items. So, some of what is left will go to him and the rest will hopefully be sold.

Last night the appraiser also did his inspection. Hopefully, there won't be any problems with the appraisal amount. I can't imagine it will be an issue.

We are camping this weekend with a local camping club we belong to. As luck would have it, it's supposed to be rainy, cold and windy all weekend. This used to be so upsetting to me. Now, who cares. After next week, we'll be camping all the time. I still feel bad for our camping friends who have to go back to work next week and hope the weather will be better the next weekend they get to camp.

The campground our club will be at is the same campground Kevin and I are camphosting at. So, we'll be on the host site and then just leave the camper there. It will be nice to see everyone again after a long winter. The campground has an unheated building we can use. At least we'll have someplace dry to get together. There will be games, cards, chatting and eating. There is always eating :)

I plan to spend time this weekend organizing the stuff we have put into the camper. I've just pretty much thrown it all in. Now, I need to figure out the best way to store things. I'm looking forward to organizing our new home!

It's funny. I can't stop smiling. This sense of pending freedom feels so good :)

A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird You're free at last. Charlie Daniels

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Step Closer

The house inspection report is in, and the buyers have signed off on it. There are a few minor repairs they want done which we have agreed to (attach a loose downspout and replace the screening in the patio door). We can handle that.

Tonight the appraiser comes. I can't see any problem there since we had the house appraised last fall for a refinance and sold it for below that appraised value.

Yesterday was a banner day for me. I gave my notice at work. April 30th will be my last day. I can't tell you how wonderful it felt. I have been very unhappy at my job for a long time. I have a very nasty coworker who has made my life miserable. As much as people tell you not to let it bother you, I couldn't help it. She was REALLY nasty! She hasn't said a word to me since I gave my notice.

The rest of the staff have been so supportive. So many of them have told me how they are envious or jealous of us. It seems there are a lot of people longing for freedom. I know this lifestyle isn't for everyone, but it seems fear is holding many back. Or, maybe we're just crazy.

Friday we are taking the camper to the county park we will be camphosting at. Kevin will stay there next week by himself. (I'm sure he'll manage just fine without me). Next Friday night I will join him and our official fulltime RV life will begin.

We're setting May 1, 2010 as our official fulltime date. I think that's fitting. I was born in Germany, and May Day is a big celebration in Germany. They celebrate the arrival of spring. Just like we will celebrate a new beginning for us. I'm getting a bit teary-eyed just thinking about it :)

All glory comes from daring to begin.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Making Progress

We spent the entire weekend going through closets and drawers and packing the trailer. I'm having a hard time deciding how many and which clothes to bring. I didn't think I had as many clothes as I discovered in that closet. They must have been mutiplying when I wasn't looking :)

I still need to pack some work clothes as I may decide to do some office temping along the way. Since I'm still working, I can't pack those clothes just yet.

I am now finished going through all the closets and cabinets in the house other than the master bathroom and the kitchen. The end is definitely in sight.

We haven't heard how the inspection went. I'm also waiting to hear from the estate sale woman. She is supposed to be calling me today after work.

We sold one of our cars this weekend on Craigslist. Within four hours of posting it, we had it sold to a man who paid the full asking price. We met him in a parking lot of a store near our house since we didn't want anyone coming to the house. He paid the full amount in cash and Kevin gave him the signed title. Since he didn't have anyone with him to help drive 2 cars back home, he asked if we would take it back home with us and meet him again on Sunday when he would have a friend with him. He never called on Sunday. I still had his voicemail message so at about 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon I called him. I got voicemail so I left him a message. It's wierd; I don't know what to make of it. Hopefully, we'll hear from him soon. I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to pick up a car they had paid for. I hope nothing happened to him.

Just another strange incident in this journey that has been full of strange happenings.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Where Did All This Stuff Come From?

The home inspector is coming tomorrow morning at 8:00. So much for sleeping in. Oh well, hopefully he'll give us a good report. Speaking of sleep; I think Kevin and I are on a bit of overload. We've both been having trouble with sleep; can't fall asleep, can't stay asleep, wake up too early in the morning. This is the first time I can ever remember Kevin having trouble sleeping. He usually sleeps like a rock. We're both so anxious to start living the dream.

We started packing the camper this week. I can't believe how much stuff we have left in the house! Now let me tell you, I've been getting rid of stuff for years. I've sold quite a bit on ebay and Craigslist and given loads to Goodwill. I really thought I had things cleared out pretty well. There is a section in the basement where I have stored items I thought would sell at the moving sale. I really thought I had things pretty under control. But, when we actually started putting things in the camper; I realized I still have a ways to go. Actually, it's not that bad; but there definitely is work to be done.

It's amazing what we accumulate in our homes. Last night I went through the spice cabinet. That's right, I had an entire cabinet full of spices and baking products, and I don't even like to cook. Some of those spices were old. I filled 3 plastic grocery bags with garbage! I should have done it a long time ago. Living in the same house for 26 years has caused me to accumulate too much. The purge feels good! We also have done very well cleaning out the pantry and freezer. We haven't had to do much grocery shopping for months :)

On April 23rd, we will begin our camphosting assignment. So, this weekend, we'll be putting our clothes into the camper. I left a message for the estate/moving sale lady and hopefully she can do the sale in mid-May. We're moving forward with the assumption the closing will take place. Even if it doesn't, we're moving forward. Still keeping our fingers crossed!!

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake. Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cautiously Hopeful

I am happy to say that we have an accepted offer on the house!!! Yippee, Yippee, Yippee!!!!

The buyers have their house sold and their financing in place, so it looks like it is a very sound offer. The next step is the inspection. We don't think that will be a problem since we already had an inspection from a previous offer. That inspector found a few minor items which we have since taken care of. I don't think there is anything the inspector can find fault with. Of course, it depends on who the inspector is. The first inspection was ridiculous. I posted about him in a previous entry.

If all goes as planned, we will close on May 21st.

We have many tentative plans in the works, but most everything depends on the house sale going through. Once we have a more concrete idea of what we will be doing, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, we're praying that all will work out this time, and we can begin our fulltime RVing very soon.

Friday, April 9, 2010

We're Back

We were planning to go back to Mt. Rainier on our last day in Seattle, however that didn't work out. We found out the visitor center closest to the top of the mountain was only open on weekends during April and the weatherman said it was snowing in the mountains. Instead we went to the Seattle Center and visited the Sci-Fi and Music Museum. My guys are into both science fiction and music so we thought we would check it out. I'm not really that much of a fan. They enjoyed it. I thought it was OK. There was this amazing sculpture made out of musical instruments and it was wired so that some of them even played. That's Eric listening to the music it makes on headphones. They also had an area where you could try out instruments. A computer walked you through how to play. I tried the drums and guitar. My rhythm was not very good on the drums. Our son Korey played percussion all through middle and high school and showed me how it is done. After trying it, I have a new found respect for his talent. I also tried the guitar. I did a bit better and was able to play along to Louie Louie. How about that!

After the museum we drove to Alki Beach. It is on the northwest side of Seattle. It was a beautiful beach with a great view of the Seattle skyline and the Olympic Mountains. The mountains were pretty cloud covered, but here's a view of the skyline.

We got back on Wednesday night. Good thing since we had a layover in Denver and later that evening they had the security issue on a plane flying into Denver. You probably heard about the diplomat smoking in the bathroom. What a dope!!! Today I heard that a plane at Seattle's airport hit a tanker truck yesterday. Thank goodness we made it home safe and sound!
Today was showing #37 of the house and tomorrow are showings 38 and 39. Still keeping my fingers crossed and praying this will be over soon so we can get on with the dream.
I came across an interesting saying from the Lakota Indians:
Man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; the Lakota knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to a lack of respect for humans, too.

Monday, April 5, 2010

More Seattle

On Saturday we went to Pioneer Square in Seattle. It is the original area where Seattle was built 150 years ago. The architecture of the buildings was beautiful. We went on the Underground Tour. Seattle was originally built at sea level and had many problems with drainage and sewage. In 1889 there was a great fire which destroyed 33 square blocks of the business district. The powers that be decided to build retaining walls around the original blocks where businesses were located and raise the street level about 10 feet. Business owners built on top of their original structures which created an underground. There are still many of the original structures beneath the current buildings. It was an interesting tour; however, our tour guide was a bit too kindergartenish for our liking. Seattle is named after Chief Seattle. Here are my boys next to a statue of the Chief.

Yesterday we drove to Mt. Rainier National Park. Mt. Rainier is 14,400 feet. It is about a 2 hour drive from Seattle. We were surprised to find the ground was still snowcovered. We visited the museum and went on a short hike where we saw this tree. The beavers have been quite busy.

Mt. Rainier is in the background of this picture. We could see it even though you can't see it in the picture. The winds picking up moisture as they come over the mountain cause it to be cloud covered most of the time. We were planning to drive further up the mountain to the Paradise Visitor Center where there were supposed to be better views. Just as we were getting back to the car to head up the road, they closed it. A tree had blown down closing the road. They told us it would be about an hour to clear the road so we decided to wait. An hour later they told us that more trees had been knocked down by the first tree and it was too unsafe to let anyone up the road so we had to turn back. We are thinking of going back tomorrow. We'll call ahead this time to see if the road is open :)

Today we went to the Space Needle and the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. The locks were opened in 1917 by the Army Corp of Engineers to connect Lake Washington with Puguet Sound. Originally, it was built to transfer lumber and coal from eastern Washington to the ocean for shipping. Today, it is one of the busiest locks in the country for commercial and pleasure boats. A fish ladder was also built to allow the salmon to move to the inland lake for spawning. I learned that salmon are born in fresh water, swim to salt water where they live until they swim back to the fresh water for spawning. That's a lot of swimming!

The Space Needle was built in 1962 for the World's Fair. It is just over 600 feet tall. No workers died during the construction. That's a a good thing. It's a pretty amazing fact when you see the pictures of how the steel workers were crawling around on small beams with gale force winds blowing. We rode to the observation tower and saw some beautiful views. The sun was actually shining while we were there. The weather here is very unpredictable. It goes from sun to rain to sun several times a day. Some days it is just clouds and rain. There haven't been long rain showers, just frequent ones.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Olympic National Park and Boeing

We're having a great time on our trip to Seattle. The weather here is certainly unusual. It changes by the minute. It can be sunny and raining at the same time. Today was very windy. Highs have been around 50 degrees.

Thursday we drove to Olympic National Park. We took the ferry across Puguet Sound.

The National Park road to view the mountains was closed due to snow. We did see the mountains from the main coastal road. We went from sun to clouds to rain to sun all day.
We stopped at the visitor center in Forks. This is the town where the Twilight books take place. They had a replica of the truck Bella drives in the movie. Every other business in town had a name relating to the Twilight movies. There was the Twilight Diner, Twilight Delights, and Bella's First Aid Pharmacy (which she will probably need if Edward bites her and turns her into a vampire).
We hiked down a few trails along the Pacific Ocean. The surf was amazing. The tumultuous waves were crashing to shore. The picture doesn't do justice to the power of the waves.

On the other side of the park was a temperate rain forest. It is part of the only rain forest in North America. It starts in Alaska, comes down through Canada and then into parts of Washington, Oregon and California. The average anual rainfall is 240 inches. The moss covered trees were beautiful. It felt like we were in another world.
Yesterday we took a tour of Boeing. Their main production building is in the Guiness Record Book as the largest building in the world by volume. To put it in perspective, you could fit over 2,000 average size homes in the building. It was impressive to see the facility and the airplanes being built. They have over 30,000 people working at their facility just north of Seattle. Their flight museum was interesting. Here we are next to the tailfin of a 747. It's over 3 stories high!
We spent the afternoon at the Pike Place Market, home of the Pike Place Fish Market. This is the place that has become famous for the "Fish Philosophy" books being used in corporate America. The employees have fun at their job bantering with the customers and throwing the fish to each other. Several years ago, the principal of a school I used to work at gave every employee a copy of the book. It was a very interesting concept. Too bad my current employer hasn't adopted the ideas. We ended the day having dinner at Ivar's Acres of Clams in downtown Seattle. It is a seafood restaurant which has been in business since 1938. The food was delicious.

Today we plan to head back to downtown Seattle. This vacation has been "just what the doctor ordered". I really needed to get away from my hateful job and the stress of selling the house. Hopefully, our next vacation will be in the RV!!!