December 15, 2014
We are preparing to fly back east for the Holidays to see family and friends.. especially our wonderful granddaughter. I can’t wait to make iced Christmas cookies and little chocolate mice (and listen to her response when John teases her – “No, Papa, they are Mice, NOT rats”). We’ll do some crafts, maybe decorate a gingerbread house, visit some holiday light displays, maybe go to Zoo Lights and generally hang out and have quality time. We miss the regular interaction with her and she is growing up so quickly.
We keep thinking how great it would be for her to adventure with us and learn about all the wonderful things we see but her mommy and daddy seem to be kind of attached to her so they aren’t ready to let her run away with the gypsies. Go figure. We’ll just have to be happy with stealing her during the summer… and maybe spring break. We still have to negotiate that one.
Leaving our camper house takes a little planning and preparation. We’ve already bought plane tickets and arranged storage for the Phoenix, booked a hotel near the Portland airport for the night before and after our travels, rented a car for our wanderings in Maryland and planned a gathering of everybody and anybody for while we are there. We set up doctor appointments and have a list of things we need to dig out of storage and tend to.
As for storage, we hope to get a few things passed on while we are there but the majority will have to wait until we can go back during warmer weather and sell it. We stored far too much stuff thinking we’d be back in a year… and would be moving back into the old house. Neither will be happening. We missed that year thing months ago and the house is just too big. If we go back to Maryland for awhile, it will be to a little condo or apartment near our son and granddaughter so all that stuff we are paying to store isn’t going to fit. (For those of you thinking about going full time, this is an important bit of information. We are paying to store STUFF. And a lot of it is stuff we no longer want or need. I don’t even want to think about how much 16 months of storage fees add up to… or all the cool things we could have done with that money. If we were smart, we would have sold the stuff before we rolled out and had even more play money. Maybe this summer we can get back and sell off or donate most of the stuff. We certainly aren’t going to attempt it in the dead of winter.
But, I digress. Back to the prep for going away… We will spend a day or two at a Portland RV park doing laundry and prepping our coach for the upcoming abandonment. We will go through all the cleaning out and winterizing steps.
This includes cleaning out the fridge and freezer. We’ve been working really hard at eating all the cold food. We haven’t bought food in weeks. What we don’t eat we’ll have to give away or throw away. We were doing pretty good on this food consumption thing until we spent the day out touring and were starving and decided to treat ourselves to Chinese food at Lee’s Wok in Newport. Whoa! They gave us enough food for three meals each. We ate as much as we could and then some, THEN got three big boxes to go. It was really, really good and we don’t want to just ditch it so we will be eating Chinese for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a day or two, then we’ll get back to consuming the other things in the freezer.
Once the cold foods are cleared out, we will pack all our dry goods in mouse deterrent plastic bins, put all freezable stuff like shampoo and liquid laundry soap into plastic bags to contain any potential messes, prop the mattresses to allow better air circulation, etc. We will thoroughly flush out our holding tanks and pour the pink antifreeze through all our plumbing, valves and macerator JUST in case Portland gets a hard freeze while we are gone. I know it doesn’t often freeze in Portland BUT we left our Phoenix Cruiser in southeast Georgia last year expecting to be back before their really cold weather set in. Well, we were in a car accident so we were stuck in Maryland an extra week and a half waiting for repairs which pushed us into Georgia’s colder season AND they had an unusually cold snap hit them earlier than usual (when it rains, it pours). We had debated winterizing before we left that time but did it just in case… well, “just in case” happened and we were truly glad we were “overly cautious”. We plan to be overly cautious again. It doesn’t take us long to blow out the plumbing and dump in the pink stuff but it saves us from a world of potential future problems.
When we first starting listing what we needed to do it seemed like a lot but on reviewing the steps I realized that most of this prep isn’t any different than if we were in a stick and brick house or closing up a summer cottage. It’s just what you do when you leave your home for several weeks.
We are being overly cautious for one more item… The coach will be in a storage area with security but the car will be in a parking lot. So one extra precaution we are taking is offloading some of the stuff from the car and putting it in the coach just so the car doesn’t look like it is worth breaking into. It isn’t worth it even if we left all our stuff in there, but the crooks wouldn’t know that until AFTER they broke in. So by the time we leave our comfy little house, it will be stacked with bins, bikes, and boxes and will sadly look a lot like that storage unit back in Maryland. At least we will be in that hotel when we get in late and can deal with reorganizing the house and car the following day when we are rested and ready to resume our wandering adventures.