Welcome, and thanks for visiting our blog. Follow us as we explore this beautiful country and enjoy life's simple pleasures.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! and ONE MORE WEEK!!

Happy Holidays to all.  Terri and I did nothing special for Christmas.  I fixed a real nice turkey roast dinner (Terri did the peas and whipped the potatoes) including dressing, squash, potatoes, peas, and gravy.  It turned out real tasty and Terri especially liked the turkey this time.  We both ate too much, but that's okay.  We don't get anything for each other much anymore.  I told her that I got the fifth wheel for her and she got me the truck to pull it with. 

One more week until 2011.  One more week until Terri is retired.  One more week until I'm retired.  Next year (2011) we get rid of most of our stuff, sell the house, and hit the road.  "Times, they are a changin'" for the better.  We can't wait.  A whole new lifestyle and eventually much less stress.

Get going, what are you waiting for?


Wednesday, 12/15/10: PRETIRED!!

Both of us have given our notices and we'll be done with that "work thing" by the end of the month!!!

What's next? 

We've been doing upgrades/repairs to the house in preparation to list it in early February, 2011.  Already had the exterior of the house repainted, roof cleaned, pressure tank for the well replaced, and deck cleaned and stained. We also repaired and painted the front porch concrete floor. I re-installed loose floor tiles and removed the sink faucet, tub faucets, and toilet in the guest bathroom in preparation for kitchen and guest bathroom counter top resurfacing and bathtub, sink, and floor & wall tile reglazing that are currently being completed.  After that, I'll install a new toilet in the guest bathroom, new sink faucets in each bathroom, new light fixtures in each bathroom, hallway and foyer, and we'll do some painting and touch up.  Middle of January will be the "living" estate sale to liquidate/get rid of our stuff.  After the sale, the wood flooring will be refinished, new carpet installed in the family room, and new linoleum installed in the kitchen, utility room, and master bath.  Also need to establish a new state of residency, obtain new drivers licenses, apply for passports, register our vehicles and fifth wheel, update our insurance, and celebrate the holidays.  We also plan to move into the fifth wheel before the "living" estate sale.  We'll need at least a month just to recover from all this stuff we have to get done, once it's done.  That's okay though, because what we are working towards is our freedom and a whole new lifestyle and plenty of free time.

Thanks Howard and Linda for your inspiration and guidance!

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all.  We hope that this day finds all of you safe, healthy, and happy.  We're so blessed to be able to do the things we do, live in this wonderful country, and enjoy the company of our friends, family, and pets.  Although today is the "official" day of thanksgiving, I try to be thankful daily and be aware of all the wonderful blessings bestowed on me.
One month from today is Christmas....
Take care,

Monday, 11/22/10: Notice! Mike gives his today...

Well, I did it!  Not long after arriving at work this morning, I marched myself into my managers office and gave him my notice, well sort of.  Before I could even tell him my intentions, he asked me if I was going to retire.  I looked right at him and said, "Yes, that's exactly what I came in here to tell you... thanks for making it so easy for me."  He was quite supportive and I do appreciate it.  This is the first time in just over 23 years that I've given my notice at work.  The last time was when Terri and I decided to move from Illinois to Virginia.  I've been having quite a bit of trouble focusing on getting ready for our full time adventures.  Things such as preparing the house for sale, sorting through stuff, getting stuff ready for the sale...  well after my meeting this morning I experienced a sense of clarity.  Now I can move forward and get going.  I should be done and retired by the end of the year!  Another step closer to making the RV dream a reality.


Tuesday, 10/5/10: What a Great Weekend!

What a great weekend we just had.  We met our RV-Dreams friends Paul & Marti for dinner Saturday night in Fredericksburg.  We both have so much in common pertaining to our fulltime plans.  This is the second time we've met for a "pep rally" with them.  We really enjoy spending time with them and it motivates all of us too.

Saturday afternoon I checked in on Jim & Dee's blog to see what they were up to; they're also RV-Dreams friends of ours.  I knew from previous posts that they were in Pennsylvania and were planning on heading to North Carolina.  Well to my surprise they were headed to R&D Campground near Bowling Green for a couple of nights.  That's not far from us.  I told Terri about it and I decided to email Dee and invite them out to eat on Sunday.  Dee called me almost immediately and we arranged to pick them up Sunday morning for brunch.  Saturday night I asked Paul & Marti to join us Sunday too.  The six of us had a real nice time.  Jim & Dee answered many questions and gave us good advice.  After brunch, Terri & I took Jim & Dee back to the campground.  They invited us in and  showed us around.  Dee showed Terri some really neat packing tips.  We didn't stay long.  It sure was nice spending time with Paul, Marti, Jim and Dee.  I'm really glad I made the effort to contact Jim & Dee.  Everyone seemed happy to be able to spend time together.  Not only were Paul & Marti and Terri & I able to get good advice from them, but Dee was able to get some good advice from Marti too.  This just really makes me want to get on the road and see this beautiful country of ours.  I can't wait for the day we can just get going and enjoy our freedom!!

Sunday, 9/26/2010: Back House Safely After Excel Fall Rally

We made it back from the rally safely and uneventfully Sunday.  Check out time is 11 AM, we didn't quite make that deadline.  After many H&H (handshakes & hugs) we left about 11:36.  We made good time, drove 142.2 miles and got back to the storage lot about 2PM.  We got a bit of rain overnight and a cold front moved in.  It was mostly cloudy but not raining when we got up.  Stayed dry all morning, but as we were getting on 81 south it looked like it could rain anytime.  We did get rain/sprinkles on and off until about Charlottesville, then it cleared up and was sunny the rest of the way back.  Terri called ahead to the storage lot and asked them to unlock a gate that's not normally used.  It's much easier backing into our space through that gate.  So glad they're so accommodating.

I think the rally was a success.  Everyone seemed to have a really good time.  Thursday night we had fried turkeys, Friday was barbecued chicken, and Saturday night was a whole roasted pig.  Everyone brought side dishes or deserts each night potluck style.  It was your own fault if you left hungry.  Saturday afternoon they had a horseshoe tournament, we just watched and talked to others sitting around us.  Then, before dinner Saturday night we had the Club meeting.  Mark and Kim volunteered to be wagon masters for the fall rally in NC next year.  It was also decided that a one time fee of $50 would be collected from each couple to increase the club fund in order to cover rally expenses.  Also, the annual dues increased from $20 to $30.  It was really great seeing many of the people we had met at the Spring Rally and to meet new people too.  Too many to list here, but it really was nice seeing all of them again.

We only forgot two things before we left today, that we know of.  It was brought to our attention that we had left a bedroom window open and the step courtesy light on.  We got both taken care of before we left thanks to our rally friends.  This is only our third time out ever, so I think that was pretty good.  Hopefully we can get back out again before Winter sets in.

Just a quick explanation about the title today.  House is our sticks & bricks where we currently live, home is our Excel.


It's Saturday night and we're here at the Excel Mid-Atlantic Club Fall Rally at the Endless Caverns RV Resort just south of New Market, VA.  We're located at the foot of the Massanutten Mountain range on the western side.  We drove up Thursday, arriving about 3:15 PM with beautiful "Fall" (Thursday was the first day of Autumn) weather all the way.  The trip was uneventful, the way I like it.  It took us about 2.5 hours and about 145 miles.  The route we took was 295 north, 64 east, 81 north, 11 north, and endless caverns road east.

This is a newer RV park, the new owners are in the process of upgrading many things here.  They've added a new pool, WIFI (which has performed excellently), 50 amp service, and have added and upgraded many campsites.  The campground is situated on the side of a hill, so be prepared to climb.  The sites are terraced into the side of the hill and are wide, long, and level.  There's also a cave tour here and if you're camping here, you get a $3.00 discount.  We really enjoyed our tour today and we had the pleasure of having 9 year veteran tour guide James show us the way.  We were lucky enough to be the only two on this particular tour so he was able to talk to us one on one and show/tell us some interesting info about the cave.

I believe there are 16 Excels here and 12 guests.  The main activity seems to be eating, games, talking, catching up on what others have done all summer and just having a good time.  Joining us this time from Peterson Industries, maker of the Excel, is Curtis Peterson and his wife Martha.  We met Curtis at the Fredericksburg RV Show earlier this year.  He personally spent almost an hour with us, showing us the many attributes of an Excel.  Curtis and Martha are from Smith Center, KS, the home of Peterson Industries.  They flew out here and our local Excel dealer Bubby Settles set him up in an Excel along with a really nice F350 to pull it here.  They're so nice to spend time with, and they're hoping to join us at the Spring Rally in Charleston, SC.  We also had the pleasure to meet Richard Settles, Bubby's father, and Tammy, Bubby's sister.  Terri and I really enjoyed our time talking with each of these fine people.  Also, our friends Mark and Kim were not able to get here until today, Saturday, due to a work commitment that Mark had on Thursday and Friday.  It was great to see them again and I'm glad they made it here.

It's hard to believe it's Saturday night already and we have to head home tomorrow.  It seems like we just got here.  I really enjoy spending time with our Excel friends and meeting new friends at the rally.  It'll be hard to leave and go back to our current usual lives of work, sticks and bricks, and other day to day stuff.

Be careful and stay safe,

Thursday, 9/9/10: First Post!!!

Well here it is, my first post.  Not much to report, still trying to learn this whole blog thing.  Howard and Linda Payne announced the 2011 Rally last week.  We signed up on Saturday.  I also reserved our site at the River Plantation RV Park in Sevierville, TN.  We'll be in site #419.  We're really looking forward to this rally and seeing all of our friends that we met at the 2010 rally and meeting new friends too.  Friday is supposed to be an open day at the rally, nothing scheduled, and I hope that we can get together with some of our friends.  I'm not sure what our status will be by then, we'll just have to wait and see.

We've only been out twice so far this year.  First trip was to the RV-Dreams rally in South Carolina in April and then we went to the Mid-Atlantic Excel Club rally in Pennsylvania in May.  Hopefully, we'll get out again soon.

That's about it for now.  I hope to have some interesting and insightful posts in the future.  Most will be RV related, some just life in general, and some other moments of reflection.  Maybe I can even get Terri to submit a post once in a while.

Be careful and stay safe.