Sunday, March 15, 2015

What Have I Done?

So, after searching and researching for the past several months I put a deposit down on an RV today.  I could not be more excited or sick to my stomach!

My research led me to conclude that a Class B Mercedes Sprinter Van was my best choice.  I had narrowed things down to the Leisure Travel Free Spirit SS or the Winnebago Era 70C, with the latter being my top pick.

After having been to a couple of RV shows, I was waiting to make my final decision until after attending one more RV show in Portland.  (I had done PLENTY of additional research - including renting a PleasureWay Plateau FL for a long 4-day weekend in February.)

I went to the RV show Friday afternoon.  My daughter was kind enough to go with me.  While I know she had her fill of RVs, it was very helpful to have her there!  We looked at lots of different Class B Mercedes Sprinter Vans, including the Winnebago Era 70C.  Although I had spent a lot of time researching them - especially the 70C - I discovered some new things I needed to consider more carefully.

That led us to look at a few Class B+ Mercedes Sprinter vans, including the Leisure Travel Unity and the PleasureWay Plateau XL. As the afternoon (and my daughter's patience) wore on, I kept coming back the Class B+ units.  They offered some additional flexibility that I realized I might appreciate.

I left having decided to head out to the dealer the next day to test drive a Plateau XL they had on their lot.  The next morning I took my test drive and was still impressed but also decided that the difference in price was going to be a barrier.  The sales person confirmed my fears.

While this rig has some very nice features the Class B units don't have, it also fell short of some of the other rigs I had looked at.  I spent time comparing them and eventually concluded the Plateau XL had the edge.  (Not in small part due to the bed.)

Today I had a call from the sales person with an offer that was a couple of thousand above my upper limit.  I thanked him for his time but said it was just out of my reach.  He called back an hour or so later and said they would meet my price.  (There are lots more details here that I may go into at another time.)

Bottom line, I put a deposit down to hold the unit which I should take possession of in the next couple of weeks.

I could not be more excited.  Or sick to my stomach!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day Tres - Part One (about a week late)

Morning coffee and sitting outside reading: The perfect way to start every day! Even if it means bundling up a bit. But since I am on the Oregon Cast, at least it's not raining!

Rudy and I took another stroll down to the beach. The morning sun made it look a bit more like a tunnel in parts. It's a gorgeous path though. 

When we got back to camp, we packed up, hit the dump station again (just for practice) and headed north toward Newport. 

My plan was to go to Mo's for clam chowder. (Travel tip: if you're on the Oregon coast, you have to hit a Mo's location. State law requires it.) 

The Newport bay front was packed with touring! (Tourons: Tourists plus Morons.) So I went with Plan B: Rogue Ales. 

Rogue is one of Oregon's first and best breweries. They have several pubs along the west coast, including here at their brewery. 

I'm at the coast so clam chowder seemed like the right choice. And beer, of course. A sampler tray and then a pint. All the choices I sampled were good but I lived the 6 Hop IPA. 

It was back to the beast to head for our next stop: Beverly Beach State Park. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 2

I slept well. The bed in this RV is plenty comfortable. And while it got colder in the RV than it does in my apartment, I like that. Rudy, on the other hand, was cold enough that she kind of squirmed her way under the covers!

(My view out the window ths morning.)

I realized just how much of a glamper I am this morning when I could not wait to see if my Keurig worked or not. It pulls 1,500 watts which seems like a lot to me. The good news is that it works just like it does at home! Having a decent (if not great) cup of coffee in the morning is important!

After some oatmeal for breakfast Rudy and I headed out on a short hike to Woahink Lake. I think we hit it just about right as the clouds had burned off and the sun was sparkling in the lake. 

(This is as much of a swim as Rudy will usually take!)

Then it was back to camp to pack up and head out to out next destination. My RV newbie paranoia set in as I checked and rechecked everything. On the way out I stopped at the dump station. Not that my tanks were full but I want the practice. I'll spare you the details but it was a pretty easy process. 

We headed north on 101. Based on the suggestion of a friend I thought I might stay at the Sea Perch RV Park near Yachats. It sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean and is pretty highly rated. However, when I emailed them I found out that Class Bs are not welcome. They want motor homes not vans, apparently. Once again rich white folks exert their snobbery! 

So, we headed for Carl G. Washburne State Park instead. It was pretty full but after a bit of scouting around I found a good spot and got hooked up!

There is a short half mile path to the beach from here so Rudy and I decided to check it out. It was late in the afternoon and the sun was perfect for some cool shots. 

Rudy had a blast at the beach - as always - and spent most of the time running!

After a lengthy mile long hike (sarcasm intended) it was time for a beer! It was so great to sit in the sun, read a book and sip on a beverage. 

This campground is just secluded enough that I had no cell signal and no TV reception. The kitchen worked well for making a quick stir fry meal and after cleaning up, my only real options were to read or play a game on my iPad. I did both and was in bed by 10:00 PM..

All in all, another great day. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Trial Run

If I'm going to be a full time RVer I need to figure out if the lifestyle agrees with me. So I rented a PleasureWay Plateau FL for President's Day weekend and headed to the Oregon Coast. 

This is my first time driving an RV - or a rig of any size, really - and so far I am surprised by how easy it is. 

I got to Honeyman State Park and found a campsite with full RV hookups ($26 a night). With any luck I've set things up properly and nothing will blow up and/or cause me to have a dead  battery in the morning. 

I'm sipping a beer as I write this and next will head out with Rudy for a long walk. 

So far, so good!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Road Trip!

I can't wait for tomorrow to hit the road for a few days of cruising the Oregon Coast. Rudy and I could use the break and, even in rainy weather, the coast is pretty dang sweet! More posts to come!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Reality Programming

As crazy as it seems, I am getting closer and closer to buying an RV. I've done a lot of research - almost all of it online - and have sorted out what I think I need / want. Here are my priorities . . . 

     * I want something simple and easy to drive and a Class B (the smallest RV size) seems like the best choice.
     * Since I intend to live in it, I want a comfortable space for me and Rudy and even though I'd love to have lots of room for family to join me on occasion, my priority is how it will work as my primary living space. 
     * While a "wet bath" (an all in one sink/shower/toilet) might work well, I really like the idea of a separate shower. Just seems more practical. 
     *  It needs as much storage as possible. 
     *  I love the idea of a screen door to be able to let the outside in - but not the bugs. 
     *  I owned a Mercedes for several years and loved it. That makes me partial to Mercedes Sprinter Van RVs, which I think are very sharp looking but also seem to be very reliable as well. 
     * Good gas mileage is always important and these get upwards of 22 mpg.
     *  I want a newer RV because I want things like Bluetooth, GPS and other techy stuff.
     *  I want to live off the grid so the solar and battery setup will be important but I can add what I need after the fact. 

With all that in mind, there seem to be only two RVs that make the cut:

     * Leisure Travel Free Spirit SS
     * Winnebago Era 70C

Of those two, I am leaning toward the Era 70C

Now to see what kind of deal I can get! I'm headed to two RV shows in the next month and hope to have made a decision by mid-March.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Life Is A Highway . . . Maybe . . .

For a couple of years I have nurtured a fantasy about hitting the road in an RV with my dog, Rudy. A big part of the fantasy is becoming a full-time RVer and driving from one national park to the next. The only problem is money.  And a job.  And all my worldly possessions.  And about 96 other problems. (Insert your "99 problems but a 'biscuit' ain't one" comment here.)

Since late last year this has become more of an obsession than just a fantasy. I've spent a lot of time doing some actual planning rather than just dreaming. Things like meeting with a financial planner and researching RVs, for example.  

I've also been taking a hard look at what it would mean to live on the road and not have a permanent residence.  I have been amazed to find that there are a ton of folks out there who live full time in an RV of some kind. Today I heard that something like 1 million people are living this way! And not just old farts like me but people of all ages, including couples, families with small children and tons of individuals living on their own.

I want to be one of them.

So, I thought I'd use this forum as a means for documenting my journey into this new adventure. I'm not yet sure what I'll decide but it's beginning to feel more and more likely that I may be hitting the road sometime in the not too distant future.

And if I do, it will be a definite leap of faith!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Friday, November 25, 2011

Top Ten Memories of My Trip To Israel

10. The satisfaction in knowing we got to Jerusalem just in time for the big 50% off sale. "Big sale! Big sale!"

9. The almost impossible choice we faced each day: Falafel or Shwarma?

8.. The confusion in knowing Israelis have developed a fence that can sense where and when a bird lands on it but do not possess the technology to make a decent napkin.

7. Not that I wanna harp on this but the napkins are the size of a post it note and the wash cloths are the size of a football field.

6. The enormous and, dare I say, out of control, feral cat population.

5. Drinking a beer while on a church trip and almost getting away with having it charged to the pastor's room.

4. Dancing the Hava Nagila without creating an international incident by putting out our tour guide's eye.

3. Carrying around 300 pounds of change but never having enough to actually pay for anything.

2. Visiting Qumran and then wondering about the sexual preference of the Essenes - a sect of deeply religious men who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls and spent a lot of time in ritual baths. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

And my Number One memory of my trip to Israel . . .

Never once getting lost while wandering around the Old City. Okay, that's a lie. ALWAYS getting lost while wandering around the Old City - but going back every day for more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Israel - Day Six

Gonna make this one shorter . . .

We hit the road at 8:00 AM and headed straight to the Mount of Olives - along with all the rest of the tourists in Jerusalem. The view from our starting point looks out over the old city and is pretty spectacular with the early sun on the golden Dome of the Rock. Beyond that we visited the Garden of Gethsemane and a few related churches along the way.

Then we went into the Old City and visited an archaeological park at the southern end of the Temple Mount. This is the spot where anyone visiting the temple would have come to enter the Temple Mount. it's one spot where we can be certain Jesus would have walked.

From there it was a trip to the outskirts of Jerusalem to visit Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the millions of Jews killed in the Holocost. It features the stories and artifacts of hose who went through it. Very powerful.

We headed back into the city to visit he City of David which is essentially the Jerusalem of David's time. This is a very controversial dig in East Jerusalem. It's controversial because Israeli's are literally digging in Palestinians back yards.

The purpose of our visit was to walk the 1,750 length of Hezekiah's Tunnel. This tunnel was dug to secretly bring water from the Gihon spring, the only source of water for the city, to the pool of Siloam on the other side of town. It guaranteed the Residents would continue to have water if their city was attacked. A pretty impressive engineering feat for its day.

We climbed down into a cavern and stepped into the entrance. The water quickly crept to our knees and then our thighs. After a few hundred feet it was only ankle deep. The tunnel is pitch dark but most of us had flashlights. It took less than half an hour but was very cool and Indiana Jones like.

After dinner A few of us made the trek to the Old City to see the Western Wall at night. It is very cool to see things at night. Shops are closed. It is dimly lit and feels even more like another world.

The Western Wall is always cool with lots of Orthodox men bobbing their heads as they pray. There is also a covered area just north of that section do the wall where even more men gather to talk and pray. We wandered into that space as well.

Our trip to and from the Old City resulted in us getting lost several times but that's all part of he fun.

Feral cat count: 13