Old Diary, Travel

How Long is TOO Long?

My father-in-law Frank always wanted to return home from a visit tour house no later than 5 days after he left.

When I travelled for business I seemed able to tolerate a roadtrip of 30 days before the longing to be back home with my Sweetie got the best of me and I had to hot-foot it back home.

I love people but sometimes just being with someone for 3 hours is too long — if it’s constant conversation.

We all have our tolerances and we apply them throughout life.  I’m discovering that my tolerances are changing.  I’m not sure why, but I know it’s true.

Yesterday we had a wonderful time reconnecting with Reba and Phyllis, but after we were done I just needed quiet and we never made it to the Toledo Art Museum.  Peg’s been trying to get me in there for years and while I’d love to go, it just seems as if the forces of the universe have conspired to keep me away.  This time it was a lovely get-together that just tired out my ears.

2005 Ambassador "Serendipity"

I miss my ‘house’!

But the real issue is how long we’ve been away from Serendipity.  I’m finding I’m ready to be home again.  And it hasn’t even been two weeks.  And it’s an odd sensation.

When I was younger I didn’t seem to have much attachment to places or things.  But in some ways I seem to be getting more that way than I have been in the past.  We don’t have as many of them:  things that is.  Downsizing did a number on our possessions.  And when we decided to go mobile part of the reason we made that decision is that we (neither of us) sleeps very well in strange beds.  I haven’t had a decent nights sleep without a Tylenol PM since we left Serendipity.  And I think I’m missing my bed.  And the compactness of living in the coach.  And I’m tired of having to eat in restaurants; although we fixed that problem last night as we often do by stopping at the closest grocery and buying our dinner out of the deli case. attache case

As a bit of an aside, we have always traveled with a Picnic Attache Case. We got the idea from my parents who did the same, and it’s just the cheapest attache we could find at the time that contains some plastic cups, plates, silverware, napkins, a corkscrew, and a sharp knife so that no matter where we co we’re always ready for an impromptu picnic.  We do that a lot.  It’s cheaper than eating out at a decent place all the time, and a lot more fun.

But back to today’s thought…..

How long are you comfortable being away from things:  your house, your job (if you’re still working), your family-children-grandchildren?  This is a factor that seems to affect a lot of us full timers in very different ways.  I hear a lot of RV’ers talking about how long it’s been since they saw family — and I can understand how not seeing the kids, and the grandkids can be a determining factor in how long a couple stays on the road as full-timers.

When we left Milwaukee we were also conscious that we had always lived near water — in our case Lake Michigan and in Peg’s case Michigan and Lake Erie (being a former Toledoan).  We weren’t sure how we would do away from the water; and we haven’t really found out because we seem to keep staying at campgrounds that are close to water…. Maybe we should take a hint from that behavior pattern?

We have always been a close family and for three years now we’ve been making up for the lack of physical proximity with regular meet-ups.  But whether that will prove to be unsustainable over the long term — and become an ultimate decider of where we spend our time, or how long we stay on the road has yet to be seen.

This trip, as nice as it has been in many ways, is also showing me that when we downsized something changed about my tolerance for hotels/motels.  Bottom line:  I miss my RV.  Not one thing about it;  I miss everything about the lifestyle; bed, convenience, pace, you name it, I miss it.  We may make future auto trips — leaving the coach behind — but I don’t think they’ll be long ones.  And I wonder whether I’ll be able to talk myself into leaving the coach behind for an annual return to Milwaukee for medical appointments or whether we have sort of limited our options and we’re going to have to take the coach back every year, just because we miss our ‘home’ when we aren’t in it?

Frankly, none of this is anything I gave any consideration to before we went mobile.  I never saw myself as becoming attached to my ‘house’ in this way.  But, it is what it is, and I am who I am and that’s that.  I have to start thinking new thoughts about what RV’ing means to us.

So, Sunday was the longest day of the return.  About 490 miles — all Interstate — pretty scenery but Interstate.

March 15

We have been talking about our way of travel between ourselves and we are owning up to the fact that for us it really IS about the journey and not so much about the destination.  We realized that there have been a lot of times that we have gone to a place some distance away and when we arrived we spent very little time there before leaving again — and that what we were enjoying was the trip.

Since being in Los Fresnos we have spent more time than we ever imagined we would just in getting to know the area — I guess that’s who we are.  We’re nosey.  We’re curious.  My parents used to sit on a park bench for hours just watching the foot traffic in a National Park pass them by — that’s NOT so much who we are.  I guess we’re more likely to drive past than to sit and watch. Hmmmmmm…. I’m not sure what that says about who we are but it is who we are.

This trip is the perfect example.  We didn’t so much want to DO things in Toledo – we wanted to see  what had changed, and of course to reconnect with Phyllis with whom we had spent a lot of time over the 20+ last years of Frank’s life.  So too with the Natchez Trace.  It’s a just-plain-beautiful-part-of-the-country.  We are looking forward to a SLOW and laid back 2 day drive through the valleys and over the hills of Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi,  followed by some back roads through Louisiana before we return to Texas.  We’ll stop and get out of the car — but we won’t do any 5 mile hikes.  My leg doesn’t lend itself to miles of walking anymore.  So we’ll check out the scenic overviews, and do a little walking — but nothing serious.  And we will enjoy the heck out of each minute.  Each Moment.  Each Instant.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Old Diary

Refreshing Old Relationships

It’s been several years since we’ve returned to Toledo.  After a good 25 years of making the trip2015031414152701 at least once a quarter we’ve been seven years (since Peg’s dad passed) since we’ve been back at all.  So it shouldn’t be a surprise when I say that it was good to return and close some doors.

One important mission was to check in with Peg’s dad’s longtime friend Phyllis and her daughter whom we have exchanged the occasional greeting card with over these years but not much more.  It was a delight to hear her voice on the phone and even nicer to get together with Phyllis and her daughter Reba over lunch.  But too much talking leaves a person with numb ears so the rest of the day we drove around town to look at the places that associate with a lot of wonderful memories:  Peg’s family home, where she worked before we married, the little hamburger shop where she used to have breakfast before clocking-in each morning.  We noted favorite restos that had closed, some that haven’t, one or two that should have. I drove past an old employer’s building, the hospice where Frank spent his last days, and a great many places where we shared smiles, laughter, and tears.

2015031415381905I also solved a tool search. When we took the sofa out of Serendipity the seat belt anchors remained.  I attempted to remove them, but the bolts were impervious to any attempts to unbolt even after using penetrating oil and rust remover.  I’ve been looking for a Nut Splitting Tool for a couple months — every time I walked into a hardware store — but no one ever had one and at most of the stores the young clerks didn’t even know what I was talking about.  There’s a store here called Anderson’s and I checked out their tool department and what do you know; the first clerk (a grey-haired guy like myself) knew just what I meant.  But he didn’t know where they were.  He went to someone else (younger by far) and he had no idea what we were talking about.  Finally the third clerk — who himself looked like he was ready to retire ten years ago — not only knew what we wanted he knew where they were!  So, when we get back to Los Fresnos I can bust those nuts and finish the job. 🙂

In the morning we head South; eager to see if we’ll see signs of Spring.  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Old Diary

Cut & Paste

The surgery went well.  It wasn’t all that much in the first place and she was all done in about 45 minutes.  After the excision the Doctor stitched her up, glued her up (no Elmer’s Glue though), bandaged her up, plastic wrapped her up and she was good to go!  No need to hang around for a follow up — per the Sawbones — so we’re back on our own again.

With Peg still feeling still a little tingly, we went to Balestrieri’s for a Pizza — had to get a pizza ‘fix’ while we were in town.  With Kathryn along it was just like old times;  we were sorry that Mike’s tummy wasn’t up to eating, but it’s nice to have the time alone with our daughter so we all had a chance to laugh and giggle.2015031215534901

We had a quiet evening, thinking we would hang around until about 9 AM and then head East through Chicago.  Alas, I’ve never been good about taming my enthusiasm, and when we both woke up at 4:45 — and heard our daughter getting ready ready for work (she leaves quite early) — before you knew it we were up, dressed, the car packed, and we left, with her following us out of the garage a few seconds later.

With an early start we zipped through Chicago at the leading edge of rush hour.  We stopped at Lake Station for a leisurely breakfast and poked our way Eastward.

As long as we were going past Elkhart we decided to stop at Bradd & Hall to look for ideas for our coach.  We have a recliner now.  There is space to the side of where the recliner lives.  The barrel chair in the bedroom is getting sat out. So a little window shopping was in order.

Peg & Charles

Peg & Charles

It was nice to walk in the door and be recognized — even after 2 years.  Charles, who worked on our Winnebago a full 24 months ago saw us and immediately asked, “Don’t I know you?”  — A couple hints later and it was like old home week.

We want a chair and a table/desk of some sort — if we can find pieces that fit the way we want.  These are ideas we are looking at, but regardless we won’t purchase anything until we get back to Wisconsin this summer, or as we leave in the fall.

2015031311282204One option would be a computer desk with a return. The image here is actually of TWO of these desks, one showing the return on the right, one showing the return on the left.  But the side seen facing the camera is what we would do.

2015031311353410Bradd & Hall also carry chairs made by Lambight and I’d like to get one more chair for the coach.  This one is available in with an optional computer table.

We have to do some measuring, but the fit is right.  If we determine it will fit in the space we have available we may add this to the coach.

Peg has a spot on the curbside of the coach that she uses for next-to-the-sofa storage and 2015031311354611we’ve been debating what we might put there to replace the inexpensive plastic drawers we have there now. I had shown a photo of these small units (only 8″ wide) to Peg but off the photo she didn’t care for them.  Once she saw them it was a whole different story.  So, we may have a possible solution for that need.

2015031311345506The surprise of the morning was discovering a new model in their inventory,  a smaller, more compact computer desk/station.  And we’ll give this some thought.  For less money, and a smaller footprint, this could be a better solution for us.

So, we have a bunch to think about.  But we have a lot of time to think.  No hurry.  And maybe we won’t buy anything at all.  Time will tell.

We’ve been going gung-ho since last Thursday and by the time we pulled into Toledo we were both tuckered.  We’re here for two nights before heading South for the Natchez Trace.  It would be nice to connect with Frank’s girlfriend Phyllis (Peg’s dad) and we have plans to lunch with her and her daughter tomorrow.  There’s a beautiful Museum featuring glass (Toledo is the Glass City) that Peg’s been trying to get me into.  And with what time we have left, we will drive around and see some of the sights of her youth — a little walk down memory lane.

The route we took from Milwaukee brought us through Amish territory and it’s always interesting to see the dedication to ideals that it takes to live a restricted life.  I think we saw more horses in a 50 mile stretch than I’ve seen in a couple years along the highway! There’s a lot of fine craftsmanship to be found in that stretch of the country.  In fact the folks at Bradd & Hall use Amish workers to build their cabinetry.

The skies stayed dry for us — even though there’s a storm just to the South. That was part of the reason for our route — to stay out of the bad weather even if the ‘bad’ weather was nothing more than rain. With a day here in Toledo we think that will give the current front time to pass us bye and leave nice weather behind.  At least we’re hoping that will be the case.

So, with a freshly ‘repaired’ wife and some good weather we’re excited to see if we can find some Spring down the highway in front of us. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

P.S.:  We already saw Texas Bluebonnets — near Corpus Christi on our way North last Friday. 🙂 🙂 🙂