Meet Maci and Jake

Meet Maci and Jake, our 2 Corgis.

We have two dogs.  They are both Welch Pembroke Corgis.  Maci is our 13 year old female and Jake is out 6 year old male.  We have had them both since they were 8 weeks old.

 

We picked up Maci in PA after we chose her from a litter of 14.  She was the one sitting by herself waiting to cuddle.  She was the perfect pet for my daughter.  Nicole is an only child so they became inseparable.

Fast forward seven years to when my sister gave us Jake as a Christmas present.  She thought that a young puppy would keep Maci running around and staying young.  Getting a puppy at that stage of my life was a lot more work than I remembered, but we loved him and loved the way he fit into our family.

When Maci was about 10 years old she started to fall over a little when she walked.  I took her to the vet and they told me that she was in the beginning stages of Degenerative Myelopathy, which is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. www.caninegeneticdiseases.net  Research has identified a mutation in a gene that greatly increases the risk of developing this disease.  Which means it could be avoided when breeding.

 

She started in her K-9 Cart www.k9cart.com for the back legs only when she lost movement in her hind legs about 2 years ago and has progressed to all four legs being supported in the cart.  K-9 Carts is a wonderful manufacturer of all types of devices to aid a dog in need of support.  They have helped her with her progression from para to quadriplegic with different adaptations to her existing cart.

Due to the fact that Maci cannot propel herself in her cart anymore we have also acquired a pet stroller to be able to have her accompany us on our walks with Jake.  I actually think she likes it more because she is now out in front of us instead of being pulled from behind us and the stroller puts her higher than before which is great for viewing her surroundings.

Maci is with us every step of the way in our travels and adventures and will be as long as she wants to continue.  As we all know, pets let us know when they are done.

Jake is a spunky little boy that loves to cuddle and play.  He was raised with Belgian Malinois and horses on a ranch in Colorado so he kind of looks at short dogs funny because he thinks he is tall.  He will be a great companion on our hikes all over the US in the future.  He is young and strong but it is funny how he still knows that Maci, even in this stage of her illness, is still the boss around the house.

If you see us out and about in our travels, please stop and say hi.  Maci will be the one in the pink pet stroller smiling from ear to ear and Jake will be the one pulling her along with his leash.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole” –  Roger Caras

A Look Back At 2016

2016 might be over, but when we think back we realize it sure brought a lot of change to our lives. Here’s a look back at 2016.

January – At this point we had already decided to live full time in an RV, but we just had not come to an agreement as to what type.  I was still leaning more towards the larger class A with the car we already had for the toad and Paul was now starting to talk to me about an Airstream travel trailer.  My reasoning was more for the living space, the dishwasher, the washer/dryer, the storage, the ability to be in the rig while driving so I could make food or use the restroom or even nap.  Paul’s reasoning for a smaller rig was to make it easier to maneuver in and out of State and National parks.  That was a very valid argument.  The problem with smaller was that I had to decide if that was worth losing all the amenities that I was so looking forward to.  So the discussion and search went on.

 

February – I still owned my women’s consignment store in town and was there day in and day out 5 to 6 days a week.  Paul was traveling to and from work 40 miles away everyday.  I had already begun advertising my store for sale but didn’t have any bites yet.  By this time, we had both gotten the full time RV bug and that was all we could think about.  We were going to RV shows and dealers all over the place in search for the perfect RV.  Little did we know that there really isn’t any perfect RV.  The RV that works for you and gives you what you need to live is really the perfect RV.  I think the problem we all have is that the fear of buying the perfect one is so daunting that we forget that even though we are living in it full time it is not a stick and brick house.  This makes it much easier to like it now and maybe not so much in a year or two or even less than that.  It doesn’t take as much to buy and sell an RV as it does to buy and sell a house.  Once you accept that way of thinking it makes it much easier to look for the right, not perfect, RV.

March – We started working with a realtor friend of mine, Julie, to get a list of the items that need to be done to get the house together for sale.  This included removing the popcorn ceiling which was not as easy as we thought it would be.  We went out and bought all the vacuum parts to suck up the old material as it was being scrapped and lined the floor with plastic to protect the carpet.  Man this whole thing was harder than we wanted it to be.  Once the ceiling material was gone we then had to get a contractor to texture and paint the ceiling to give it more of the modern look.  What a mess that was and very time consuming.  The rest of the items on the list were little things like paint rooms, replace fixtures and redo some of the molding.  We also had to get the outside together, as the backyard was really the reason I bought the house in the first place.  The electrical and thermal heating lines needed to be repaired and relocated, the tile around the pool needed to be re-grouted and cleaned and the gazebo over the hot tub needed to be demolished, (that was fun).  Overall it was a long list of things to be done while we were both still working fulltime.

 

April – Hooray I have a buyer for the store!  One of my customers was now starting the process of putting financing together to become the new owner.  I was spending a lot of my time preparing the store to switch ownership.  Paul was still working 40 hours or more a week with his stress level reaching max on occasion.  This was the reason we decided to have him leave that environment sooner than retirement age.  I didn’t want to loose him to his job.  We were still working on the repairs and upgrades to the house but we were starting to reach the end of our lists.  Our female dog Maci was progressing in her illness to the point that she could no longer use her front or back legs so she was confined to her wheeled cart or one of us moving her from place to place.  The search for the RV for our home was starting to take shape a little more as we decided we were going to go with the smaller Airstream instead of the larger class A.  Now we just had to decide on the right one.  Paul started the intense research that needed to be done to list the pros and cons of each style and length.  We wanted it short enough to move around but long enough to have space to live.  He actually started looking into the differences from one year to another and we decided, due to the heating and lighting and some other things, that we wanted the 2017 Classic 30J which had the queen bed in the back.  The problem was that they hadn’t come out to the dealers yet so we couldn’t actually walk in one.  So we set out to find the dealer that could help us with the best price and the perfect timing for our needs.  Because we were getting a 30’ Airstream we needed to get a vehicle that was strong enough to pull it up and down all the mountains that we wanted to travel to, so we started the search for a new truck as well.

 

 

May – Paul was working on some really large projects at work which was keeping him there long after hours and coming home exhausted.  I think I was pushing him to hard working on the house after work.  I actually had to take him to the ER for a torn hernia.  I was preparing the store for the transition and getting ready for all the systems to be turned over to the new owner.  Maci and Jake, our corgis, were starting to feel the brunt of all the work and changes that were going on with our home and jobs.  They were starting to feel neglected.  I think it was about this time that we realized that the best name we could have in social media to express the feeling we were having about our lives at this point was “Our Someday is Now”.  We had to make this change sooner than later because we realized that our someday had to be now or it might be to late.

 

 

June – The store is not mine anymore. It is now official.  I will stay with the owner for a couple of months to make the transition smoother for her.  I need to spend more time at home now taking care of Maci as she is getting more dependent on me than before.  The house is now done and ready to be put on the market but we are waiting for the appropriate time for the trending market.  Paul is doing much better at work without having to spend so much time working on the house when he gets home.  We had a landscaper put the finishing touches on the outside of the house to make it even prettier for the sale.

 

 

July – The house was put on the market on the 1st starting with an open house and it sold in 6 days!  We were so shocked that it went that fast.  Now we had to start the decisions of truck and home.  The first was going to our local Airstream dealer to place the order for the 2017 model of the Classic 30’.  That was going to take a couple of months to be made and delivered.  We chose the interior décor and solar options to make it be the home we wanted.  I now had to start the task of finding a place to live in our new Airstream once it was delivered as the closing of the house was in a month or so.  I secured and started to occupy a storage facility for the items that we, at the time, thought we were going to need on the road.  We prepared the house for a massive yard sale and was amazed at how easy it was to create a pile of things that we had lived with for so many years that we were able to let go of that easily.  It just showed us that they were just things.  Things that most of the time were just taking up space.

 

 

August – The yard sale was a huge success.  We sold almost everything we had out and then some.  Paul let go a lot of his really nice tools for very little money just to move them out.  He even sold one of our Harleys at the yard sale.  Whatever was left from the sale was donated or given to family and friends.  We now had less than 30 days to get out of the house so it was good to find out that our new Airstream would be here the first week of September.  The new owner of the house was gracious enough to let us stay in the house for a week while we waited for our rig.  I had to now find a long term hotel for us to stay in until the middle of September for delivery of the Airstream.  Having two dogs, one handicapped, in an extended stay hotel was not going to be easy but at least it will be a roof over our heads.  We were going to be staying close enough to a satellite office for Paul so he didn’t have to go 40 miles everyday.  That was a huge relief of stress for him.

 

September – Well that’s it.  I am no longer at the store at all and we were out of the house and living in our extended stay hotel.  It isn’t that bad but it also isn’t where I would want to stay.  We were told by the Airstream dealer that there was a delay in the delivery of our rig so they were going to let us borrow a rig to give us someplace to live until the October 1st delivery of our 30’.  We didn’t even have a truck to pick it up so they also were willing to deliver it to the KOA in the area that we were going to be staying for the rest of the year.  The 25’ Flying Cloud was delivered and we sort of moved in.  I didn’t want to get to settled because it was only for 2 weeks.  It was small but doable. We had the transition from our 1600 sq ft house to a 500 sq ft hotel room which made the move into a 200 sq ft Airstream seem much easier.  By the time we moved into our 240 sq ft 30’ it would feel like a mansion.

 

October – Our 2017 30’ Airstream Classic was delivered on the 1st and we are now finally, after all this work and timing, in our home.  What a wonderful feeling.  Now the job of finding a place to put all the things we brought with us.  We still had the storage facility full to the brim and needed to get a tow vehicle.  Paul started the long process again of finding the vehicle that would best suit our needs.  We finally decided on and had to order a 2017 Ford F250 Diesel Super Duty.  The changes that had been in the 2017 version were just everything he wanted so we waited for a November delivery.  Learning the inside and outside of our new rig took a lot of our time but it was everything we had wanted and waited for.

 

November – Our truck was finally delivered and it’s gorgeous.  There is so much to learn about this truck its crazy.  All the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place nicely.  We now have to start preparing for the holidays and all the craziness that comes with it.  We will always want to be with family during the holidays.  We have scheduled a tentative departure date of January 15th.  We have our first reservation in Quartzite Arizona towards the end of January.  Paul is still working one day a week at the main office 40 miles a way and the rest of the week at the close satellite office.  Maci and Jake are starting to settle in nicely but this area has a lot of rain at this time of year so dealing with wet dogs going in and out of the rig is rough.  It’s a lot of work in a house and even harder in a small trailer.  Learning how to cook in such a small kitchen is also a challenge.  The thing I am finding out is that with such small living space the slightest thing out of place makes the whole rig look a mess.  The key is to put things away after every use.

 

December – The holidays are upon us and it is getting pretty crazy over here.  Shopping, decorating, baking and fun with family and friends.  We started talking to a friend of my daughters to buy the other car we have so we are going to be down to just the truck soon.  The cover for the bed of the truck and the bike rakes are all ordered and soon to be delivered.  Finding the right size containers for the dishes and food for inside the cabinets, and the right sizes for the containers to store in the bed of the covered truck for all the rest of our stuff is a big job.  Christmas came and went and we all had a lot of fun but I am glad it’s over.  I think a lot of us look forward to the quiet again after all the build up to New Years.  We have a couple of more things to do before we have everything in place for the launch but we are feeling pretty confident that things are falling into place nicely.

 

Overall, it has been quite a year for us.  A lot of ups and downs and changes.  Some for good and some not so good.  We lost some friends in 2016 that should still be with us but life takes the course it wants to take no matter what we want sometimes.  Our someday is now is our philosophy from now on and we couldn’t be happier.

 

Looking forward to a very exciting 2017 with all our travels and adventures along the way.

 

Thanks 2016 for making us stronger…2017, here we come!

There’s a Firefly in our Airstream

There’s a Firefly in our Airstream

Well the statement is true, but it’s not what you think.  It’s not the insect that provides a great light show in the summer months, it’s the new lighting controls and tank monitoring system in our 2017 Classic.

When we were going in and out of all the different models of Airstreams in our search for the best one for our needs, one of the first things that I noticed was the standard toggle switch lighting and tank monitoring systems that were customary in all models, except the 2017 Classic.

There isn’t anything wrong with the traditional switches, they function perfectly fine. After going around through all the higher end class A’s and 5th wheels, and seeing all of the cool monitoring systems, I felt that the systems in the Airstream should really be comparable to the other higher end RV’s. After all,this a premium trailer, with a very premium price!

The Firefly system in our rig is really quite awesome.  Starting with the ability to turn your lights on and off from pretty much everywhere, to all the different controls being in the same spot, it makes lighting easy to control.

There are 6 control panels throughout the trailer. 

The panels give you the ability to work the lights, monitor your tanks, raise and lower your kitchen table, adjust your automatic awning, turn the bath fan and lights on and off, start and stop your water pump and tank heaters, and lift and lower the head of your bed etc.

Front Door

This panel allows you to turn the interior and exterior lights on and off.  It also has the awning adjustments and battery and awning locks for safety.

Entrance Door
Entrance Door

Sofa in Front

The panel by the living room sofa adjusts the lighting in the front living space. There is a USB charging port on each armrest, which makes it convenient for your phone/ipad.

Front Reclining Sofa

Bedroom

There are two panels here.  One is on the wall when you enter the room, which has lighting buttons and bed position adjustments. The other panel is above your head which also has the same functions and a few more features.

The best part of the panel above your head, is being able to make adjustments without having to get out of bed to shut down the trailer lights.  This is also good in case of an emergency because you can turn all the interior and exterior lights on at once.

Beedroom
Bedroom – Above your head while sleeping

Main Control Panel

This panel has multiple screens.

The Home Screen offers the tank monitors, table lift, inverter switch, battery monitor, water pump and tank heater toggle switches.

The Main Screen gives you the controls for all the interior lighting in the front of the trailer.

The Rear Screen works all the lighting in the rear of the trailer along with the bath and shower lights (those two could actually be fun).

The Ext Screen offers the master on and off of all the exterior lights including the awning and grab handle (very cool blue swirl effect).

The Awning Screen shows a diagram of the awning and gives you the ability to open and close as well as the front and rear tilt adjustment.

The Settings Screen lets you turn the actual screen brightness up and down and has the indicator of the make and model of the trailer.

The Aux Screen has a button to turn the bath fan on and off from the kitchen (this one might actually be beneficial sometimes) and the button to bring the head of the bed up and down.

Main Panel - One of Several Screens
Main Panel – One of Several Screens

For a 30’ trailer it seems like a lot of control panels but I have to say, we probably use every panel every single day.

Some of the panels have different naming conventions for the same light function from panel to panel but it’s not difficult to understand what button controls which light.  For example, the button on the panel by the sofa to turn on the lights over the sink is called Galley Task, but on the main panel it is called Galley Locker.  I don’t know why?

Also, the very best part of the lighting system is that each and every light in this trailer has the ability to be dimmed.  YES,  Dimmable LED’s. Wow! This is fantastic, sometimes when you turn on the lights over the kitchen table it is just to stark white to be comfortable, but when you want to have a romantic dinner, it’s nice to be able to dim the lights.  Great feature!

So that is the Firefly monitoring system in the 2017 Airstream Classic.  We love it and are very happy we waited to be able to have this new system in our trailer.

We did a very detailed video on this system on our YouTube channel so check it out if you want to see it in action.

If you have any questions about this system, please let us know.

We Bent The Awning – Trust Your Gut Feelings

Trust your gut feelings

Have you ever had one of those nights when you just kept waking up because something was bothering you but you didn’t know what it was?  Well, that night happened to me.

It was a cloudy day with the forecast of light rain throughout the night.  We had been having light rain, on and off, for the previous week, so this had become the norm.  We diligently put everything from the patio into boxes and tucked it all safely under the rig.  We even covered it with a tarp to make sure everything would stay dry.

We retired inside to enjoy a nice, comfy, rainy-night dinner and then blissfully go to sleep to the calming sound of the light rain hitting the aluminum shell of our Airstream.

Throughout the night, I was tossing and turning with an anxious feeling.  I wasn’t sure what it was at first but, then I started to think about all the things we did to “batten down the hatches” for the night rain.  All of a sudden the thought of the extended awning came into my head.  Was it out all the way?  Was it tilted to let the rain run off properly?  These questions just kept running around in my head for hours.  I don’t know why the urge to get up and look out the window to see the status of the awning never happened, but it didn’t.

Oh Crap it’s bad, bad, and more bad

Around 5am, after what seemed like a very steady light rain, I couldn’t sleep anymore.  I shook Paul and said “I think you should look at the awning.  I have a feeling there is some water accumulating.”  With that, he jumped out of bed like a jackrabbit.  He threw on his shirt and pants, opened the door, and in the still of the early morning hours, screamed “F#$%&*K!”  He screamed this twice, not just once (he regretted that immediately).  The awning was completely full of water.  It resembled a small swimming pool, with a noticeable arc in the main tube.

Frantically, Paul started trying to remove the water.  He was making so much noise (sorry neighbors).  But, he was finally able to remove enough rain water so that no more damage could occur. After a few failed attempts to retract the awning, we were able to position it into a good angle so that water would not pool anymore.

When we felt it was secure enough to leave it alone we did some online research and searched through the manual.  After finding no helpful answers, it was time to put our tail between our legs and call the dealer, in shame.

The service department was very busy that Saturday, and could not call us back, so we decided to hop in the truck and head down to see them in person. When we arrived, one of the senior technicians showed us exactly what to do by using the emergency cable which allows the awning to be retracted manually.  The direct connection of the cable, from the battery terminals to the motor, bypasses the protection sensors, which tells the electronic controller to stop when it gets overloaded.

In a flash, the awning started wobbling its way back to the roof. There it is going to stay until we can take the rig back to the dealer and face the costs of a new tube, or whatever they need to do.

The lesson learned:  The main awning tube is so long that any minor wind or rain, has the potential to damage it.   They recommend retracting it whenever you are away, or the forecast advises you of bad weather.

 

If you want to see how we fixed this take a look at our Youtube Video.