Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Yesterday we had the opportunity to walk the walk and talk the talk.  Except in our case it was drive the drive and head over the bridge into Canada.  Let me explain.  It began, as most of my crazy ideas do - over a pot of chewable french press coffee and a meeting of the minds with Troy.  We were discussing the next step.  You see,  we have had many plans laid out before us to follow as we move towards September but have purposely limited many.  There are so many things to consider when you are trying to change everything about everything and they can easily become quite overwhelming.  If there is too much on my plate, my brain goes fuzzy and I just want to crawl back into bed.  Seeing as it will be very soon that I no longer own a bed - I have to be careful about how many tasks I give myself at one time.  Some time ago we sat together and came up with a list of everything we need to take care of before we leave Traverse City.  We attempted to put them in order and we periodically have to rearrange a few.  The big ones that everyone asks us about,  have been the house, the cars, the camper van, the schools and our jobs.  When people first began questioning us about these things, it would cause me to panic.  I don’t know! - I would scream that in my head a little bit.  I apologize if my inside head scream was directed at you.  All I could do was focus on one thing at a time.  First it was telling everyone about our plans.  It may not come as much of a surprise  when I relay that not everyone is as excited about this nomadic journey as we are.  It wasn’t too bad though - there was no blood.  Next came putting the house up.  This was a big one of course and it was a lot of work.  We are really fortunate because our house is lovely, we invested over 30K in improvements (I added them all up today!) and it is in a really nice neighborhood.  Everyone takes care of their homes here and the previous owners really took pride in the gardens that frame our yard and little yellow house.  Beyond spending loads of money on improving the house  - we also managed not to screw anything up in the year we owned it.  The only thing we needed to do was prepare the house for showing and the rest should speak for itself.  And show we did.  This made for many hours of cleaning and primping as I am somewhat of a perfectionist and want everyone to see it at its very best.  All was worth it in the end however as it took a mere 4 weeks to get an agreeable offer. Everything is moving along well and I have no doubt we will manage to close as planned in May.  After a day or two of doubt, I put my big girl panties on and got back into ‘let’s do this!’ mode.  I am thrilled to have sold the house and cross that task off my list.  Of course this now means that I  have to face other tasks and this time there is a bit more of a time crunch.  The stuff has to go.  We have given a lot away.  A lot.  I would venture to say that at one point a few months ago, we had at least double the possessions that we have now.  We still have so much.  We are each taking about three items with us in the van and are storing a tote each at my Mom’s. That leaves a lot of items left over to find new homes for.  A sale is a must  and we are looking forward to holding it over Mother’s Day weekend  (if you want to come you can find all of the details on our Facebook page).  The next obvious thing we needed to think about was finding a place to stay for the summer.  The original plan was to get the van and live in it over the summer.  We had absolutely no expectation of selling our house as quickly as we did and we were not yet at the van buying check point.   We needed another option so my brain would not explode.  We were asking for a lot.  The place needed to be small and not cost much - we would like to stock up some cash over the summer months.  We were thinking of a studio apartment if possible.  We won’t be there much due to summer being on it’s way.  The hard part is finding a place that will allow us to only rent for 4 months during peak season for no additional funds and keep our giant dog, Rocco. It would also be nice to not have to put down a deposit to boot. Thankyouverymuch.  A friend that Troy works with stepped up and offered us a room for rent in his house. We took him up on his very generous offer and that detail is one I no longer need to think of.  Now I cannot put it off any longer... we need to start looking for a van.  
We have done a lot of research on what type of vehicle we want to do our cross country voyage in.  There are so many options available.  Class A, B, or C?  Pull behind or an RV?  We have thought about all of the pros and cons of each and simultaneously tried to avoid all advice from probably well meaning people. We came up with the following criteria that were complete must haves for our family:
  • Small enough that we can easily maneuver in any city setting and park in a normal parking space.
  • Sleeps 4
  • Has an onboard toilet.
  • Has cooking capabilities.
  • Has a generator so we can take advantage of boon-docking.
  • Is one unit that can be used for both traveling and sleeping without needing to connect/disconnect.
  • Is reasonable on gas.
  • Is more comfortable than a car.
After looking at many different models and types of RV’s we came across a clear winner  - a Roadtrek Simplicity 190.  It is perfect for our needs and desires.  The problem is that they are really hard to come by.  We have done many searches across the states and haven’t had much luck.  Roadtreks are produced in Canada and are most popular with the retirement community.  Many of the models only sleep 2 and these are the most commonly found in the US.  This is unfortunate because the Simplicity’s are awesome.  I did not know they even existed prior to needing one.  Even if I was not embarking on this great adventure I would want one.  I do not need to think about that however because I am about to take this leap and I do want one.
So we are having coffee and talking as we do... and it hits me - let’s just go to Canada.  Troy happened to have 2.5 days off work and I didn’t really have much going on.  We are always talking about being spontaneous and doing whatever we feel like just because we can.  Here was a great opportunity.  It took about 2.5 seconds to talk ourselves into it.  Within 10 minutes we were booking hotel rooms and packing the few things we would need.  Then we were off - boarder bound.

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