Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Running the Roads...

Welcome to all our new followers!  It's great getting to know you all through your blogs for now.  Hopefully we can connect on the road soon.

Since our last post I've been back and forth to Ashdown, Arkansas several times.  I think there was a total of 3 round trips in there.   I had to come back to Austin for a commitment I couldn't change.  Then back to Arkansas to pick up Johnny for some doctor's appointments here in Austin.  Then take him back to Arkansas and come back to Austin to host a golf tournament for the Austin Executive Women's Golf Association

Now I'm trying to wrap up loose ends and pack to head to Fargo, North Dakota for my niece, Alicia's, graduation from North Dakota State University.  While I'm in North Dakota I'll get to celebrate Christmas with my Mom and older brother and his family.  Hoping to eat some lefse and bring some back to Austin.  Trying to figure out what to pack so I don't freeze to death!  I'm sure 50 degrees will feel positively balmy when I get back down south!

Then back to Austin to pack up to head to Arkansas and then Louisiana for Christmas with Johnny's kids and grandkids. 

This month is actually a good snapshot of one of the reasons we're going to go fulltime in the RV.  Trying to take care of things in Austin and be able to spend time together just sort of makes me crazy -- not to mention puts a ton of miles on the Avalanche!

I best get busy.  Need to do laundry, get one more Christmas present and pack.  Oh, and got get a manicure!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Warmer and Sunny Today

It was much warmer and sunny today here at Millwood Landing.  That made the day much more pleasant because I had lots of errands to run. 

Most important on the list was Sage had an appointment at the spa for a bath, haircut and pedicure.  She did good and the ladies at Petsmart in Texarkana did a great job.  She looks like she lost 10 lbs!  While we were there we picked up a new doggie bed.  Sage seems to like her new bed!  She's been in pretty much the same position since we got home...  If only there was sound so you could hear her snoring!

I also picked up a new Christmas tree to replace our old one.  When I took it out of the box several limbs fell off and would not stay on, so off to Wally World we went for a new one.  I picked up some groceries while I was there.  I think we'll have beef stew tomorrow for dinner.

Hopefully I'll get the tree up tomorrow and some other things organized.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Already December!

I can't believe it's December already.  Although the temperatures are sure feeling like it!  At least it finally stopped with the wind and rain.  Just chilly now. 

I can sort of relate to Howard Payne's dilemna with the RV-Dreams Journal -- sometimes it's hard to find things to write about when you are sitting in one place!

Before I forget, I want to thank and welcome our new followers -- that's pretty much ALL of you!  It's funny to find people are interested in what we are doing.  But then I'm interested in what you all are doing, so I guess it's not all that weird. 

Also, for those of you who have wondered about the picture on the header of our blog -- it's the view from the back of our infield spot at Daytona International Speedway late at night.  It's amazing how peaceful and beautiful it is when just a few hours earlier or later it's filled with noisy crowds and lots of horsepower driving in circles!

As for what we've been up to the past week, we had a very nice -- if wet and cold -- Thanksgiving.  Just the two of us and the dog.  All the traditional stuff except pie.  We were supposed to go to some of Johnny's co-workers for pie, but it was so wet and nasty we didn't feel like getting out.

We went motorhome shopping and did a little Christmas shopping on Friday.  Didn't find the perfect motorhome yet, but had fun and narrowed in on what we are looking for a little better.

I finally booked my flight to Fargo, North Dakota.  My niece graduates from NDSU on December 16th/17th.  Why 2 days?  Her Respiratory Therapy class has their ceremony on the 16th.  And the official NDSU ceremony is the 17th.  So 2 days of graduation.  Oh, and NDSU made the football playoffs for the first time since moving up a division.  Maybe all the excitment will keep me warm!

Not too much going on the rest of the week.  Just working on cleaning up some things that accumulate in the 5er and better organizing some other things.  Funny how things accumulate here just like they do in a stix and brix house!

Today I hung up a bunch of little 3M sticky hooks to hang necklaces from.  I LOVE those sticky hooks for the RV!  The little ones fit inside the frame of the cupboard door in the bedroom.  I think they will work pretty well.  Just wish I would've gotten them lined up better -- not that I'm a perfectionist or anything!  I thought it might help some of you other ladies figure out how to keep your necklaces accessible, tangle free and not taking up much space.

We changed out the waterhose for the one with the heat tape on it.  Just so we're prepared for those colder nights.  And then I put everything back in the basement storage while Johnny went to work.  Sage and I tried to start a campfire, but we're not very good at it so we finally gave up when it got too chilly and came inside.

Now Sage is snuggled up on the couch.  She seems to like the new cushions!  I do too!

Tomorrow Sage is getting a haircut.  She'll be mortified, but she'll look like she lost 10 pounds and there will be a lot less dog hair to sweep up!  And I need to make a Walmart run.  Groceries and a small Christmas tree for the 5er along with a few other things that made the list.  Must do my part to support the economic recovery ya know!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quiet Day at Millwood Landing

Today was a pretty quiet day.  Finally sat down and figured out the menu for Thanksgiving and a couple of other meals and made up a grocery list.  Tomorrow I guess a trip to the Walmart in Texarkana is on the agenda.

I finally cooked the venison we've had in the freezer since July.  I put it in the slow cooker with a little white wine and water and covered it with an apple cut in quarters, 2 sliced onions and 4 cloves of garlic minced.  Cooked it on high for about 1 hour and 4 more hours on low.  Then I took out the apple chunks, added a little more water, some beef soup base, flour and a can of mushrooms.  Let that cook for a couple of more hours.  Served over some brown rice.

Turned out pretty good I think.  I'll get the official verdict when I take it out to Johnny and crew a little later tonight. 

Other than that it's been an rv cleaning day.  Trying to get rid of the stuff we really never use and make some room for my things so we can do the full time thing.  Will really need to find something that works better, but trying to make things work better in the meantime.

Will try to take some pics tomorrow.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Back in Arkansas and my favorite Cranberry Recipe

After a crazy day of trying to load everything needed for Thanksgiving week and dinner into the Avalanche, along with the new cushions for the couch/dinette, Johnny's birthday present and the golf clubs, I finally left Austin headed for Ashdown, Arkansas, Millwood Landing Golf and RV Resort and most important -- Johnny and Sage at about 4pm.  Realized about halfway here that I forgot to get the roast turkey demi glaze concentrate.  I like the demi glaze concentrate better because it isn't as salty as most other boullin options for flavoring the gravy.  Pretty sure I won't find it here in Ashdown or Texarkana.  Oh well, will have to make due.

Arrived at Millwood Landing at about 10:30pm.  Johnny had left the lights on and Sage seemed happy to see me -- or maybe it was just to go for a late night run!  I got the clothes, cooler and computer out of the truck and decided the rest could wait till today.  Still haven't gotten to unloading the truck. 

Got distracted watching the NASCAR race.  Happy Harvick is making a good run for the Championship.  Denny Hamlin is not having a good day.  Unfortunately Jimmie Johnson is doing okay.  Still time for Harvick to get a head of Jimmie though.  Keeping fingers crossed...

One of the things I needed to get done before leaving the house was making up some of our favorite cranberries.  Not quite ready to move the food processor from the house to the RV.  I tried this recipe a few years ago and it instantly became the family favorite for cranberries.  We keep some mixed up as long as we can buy cranberries.  Not only is it great with turkey and ham, but it's delicious with chips!  And for a bonus, it's really easy to make!

Cranberry Salsa
12 oz. fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1 medium jalepeno, seeded and deviened
1-2 green onions
3/4 cup sugar (I use half Splenda and half sugar)
handful fresh cilantro (more or less depending on how much you like cilantro)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin

Dump everything in the food processor and chop till fine.  It's best if you make it the day before to allow time for the flavors to blend.  This is my go to dish when I need to take something to share at a fall/winter get together.  Just add a bag of tortilla chips and you are good to go! 

Told Johnny this holiday season needs to be the last one we have both the house and RV going.  Lots of work packing up the holiday and moving stuff from the house to the RV.  On to MH shopping this coming weekend!

Hopefully will have more interesting things to talk about this week, since Johnny has a few days off and we'll have time for some fun!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Making New Friends

When we first started thinking about living fulltime in the RV, I did what I always do -- RESEARCH!

In the process I happened across Howard and Linda Payne's RV-Dreams.com website.  While there are lots of websites and information out there about RV travel and fulltime RV living, theirs is the first site I had found that laid out the thought process of going fulltime.  Especially if you aren't financially ready to retire and live off your savings.  Reading their thoughts and those of others on the site really helped us come to the conclusion that it was really feasible for us to travel fulltime in the RV. 

Not only is the information great, their site is also the place where I learned about the great sense of community there is among some of the fulltimers out there.  Reading their blogs and connecting with them in the RV-Dreams Chat Room has introduced me to some great folks out there.  I'm still working on building my reading list, but you can see some of the blogs I follow on the right side of the page.  Their genuine caring and helpfulness whether they've ever met you in person or not is truly amazing!

Johnny made the comment the other day that I have as many online rving friends as I have friends in Austin!  Well, maybe not quite -- YET!  But working on it!

And while I haven't met any of these fine folks in person yet, Johnny has!  While in the RV-Dreams Chat Room earlier this week, FDR5 was also there.  Generally people use their chatroom name, followed by the state they are currently in.  Well FDR5 indicated he was in Arkansas.  I asked where and it turns out they were in Ashdown which is the same place Johnny is staying while working a project in the area.  Not only were they in the same town -- they were actually in the same rv park -- Millwood Landing Golf and RV Resort!  How bizarre is that!  Johnny was able to get together for a few minutes with John and Bridget before he went to work and they left on Friday.  If you check out their blog from this week, you can see the park where we're staying, our 5th wheel and Johnny on his way to work!  Johnny said they are great folks in person too and was happy to meet up with them, even if only briefly.

John and Bridget are off to Mississippi for a couple of months, but hopefully we will all get together again in the near future.  And maybe play some golf!

Speaking of, I best go get ready.  Today I'm marshalling at Falconhead Golf Course.  It's a beautiful sunny day.  A little windy and not supposed to get above 65 but still should be a fun day!  It's a great  course and if the weather holds I'm playing tomorrow with some girlfriends.

Take care all and have fun today, whatever you are doing!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our first post

Johnny and I have been researching fulltime rv living.  We started talking about it after our annual trip to Daytona Beach Florida for the July NASCAR race.  We love Austin and our house, but we also love traveling!

Step one was to look at the financials.  While we won't be able to retire in the immediate future and just travel, we did learn some interesting things when we put pencil to paper -- or more accurately, figures in Excel!

Because Johnny works part of the year on the road doing powerplant outages, we already carry all the expenses of fulltime rving.  We ALSO have all the expenses of the sticks and bricks house.  While we could cut the rv expenses a little, they are still significant. 

Next we looked at the house.  Since I'm a Realtor, it was easy to check our options there.  If we sell the house we could probably net around $150K.  If we lease it it will cover the mortgage and other monthly expenses.  And when the mortgage is paid off would give us a nice monthly income, making retirement more feasible.  Selling and investing the $150K could never generate the same level of monthly income. 

So after lots of discussion, we made the call to hit the road fulltime.  Besides doing what we want to do, it also makes financial sense.  We're excited and overwhelmed and a little scared...

We still have lots of things to do and decisions to make, but we're working through them one at a time. 

Oh, one of the other things we learned in our research process is that lots of fulltimers have blogs.  It helps family and friends keep up with them.  They're also part of the way fulltimers create such a great sense of community -- even though we're on the road in different parts of the country.

Be patient with me while I figure out the blogging process and deal with periodic bouts of panic as we transition to a new way of life!