Our home in Redwood Valley
Traveling with our many dogs has always been a problem, so we have not attempted it very often for many years. When we have traveled, we have rented a house or even pulled a U-Haul trailer containing our king sized bed and a bunch of camping gear. So we started looking for some kind of RV (Recreational Vehicle) to make getting away much easier.
We started looking at campers that fit on the back of a pickup truck. They are getting much bigger and more comfortable, but they still seemed fairly small to us. Plus they required the purchase of a considerable truck for a total investment of about $75,000. Plus we weren't to thrilled with the idea of riding in a pickup truck.
So we began looking at larger RVs including the Pace Arrow (about $120,000) which seemed to suit us much better. A very friendly and knowledgeable RV salesman (who had once been a professional photographer) had us experience the difference between a gasoline powered RV and a diesel powered coach. We had to admit, for another $30,000 there was quite an improvement in ride and horsepower.
RV Corral in Coburg, OR
The next step was to figure out how to put our king-sized bed in one of these otherwise well equipped motor homes. After looking around for a few more months we discovered Newmar (at the RV Corral), who not only had several models with King beds, but would allow us to make many other modifications to their 2004 Dutch Star which sold for about $200,000. By this time we were seriously considering traveling for months at a time, so paying this kind of money for a second home seemed reasonable.
The next step was to cash in the substantial equity we had in our California home. This would allow us buy a smaller home, and also be able to afford to buy the 40 foot diesel pusher coach of our dreams and travel throughout the country. In addition to taking and selling my photography, my wife plans to create and sell many pieces of her decorative paintings along the way.
Newmar Dutch Star Diesel Pusher
Our intention is to travel throughout the western USA, Canada and perhaps Alaska in our Newmar Dutch Star. We will create and sell beautiful photography and artwork, as well as the productivity software I current develop and sell on the Internet. We intend to enhance the lives of thousands of people with our creativity.
So as I begin this new adventure I feel compelled to share it with you, whoever you are, and tell you of my journey. I have yet to decide if this will be a daily exercise or a more infrequent one.
It has definitely been a time of beginnings and endings for us lately. One of my Chihuahuas had four puppies about twenty days ago. President Reagan died a week ago and was buried yesterday. It was a grand affair unlike any we have seen in quite awhile.
On a more personal note, we have decided to cut down on the number of animals we want to take care of and share our new coach with. Recently we have had two cats and six dogs. We even had a 55 gal fish tank with a small school of Koi a few months ago, but sold to a neighbor last Christmastime.
Pixie - our Calico barn cat
So we have begun the painful process of parting with some of our loved
ones. Precious, our tan and white Chihuahua who has had many litters for
us, we gave to a friend in Sonoma County. Next we gave our outside
cat, who was my wife's beautiful Calico cat, to another good friend
who has many other animals and who worked for the humane society for many
years. She will also take my 17 year old Russian Blue cat who has arthritis
and has not been outside for many years.
The toughest parting will be with my Miniature Pincher who I have had for about seven or eight years. She was about ten when we rescued her, so she is getting very old. She has lost sight out of one eye completely and mostly out of the other eye too. Her hearing is definitely not very good these days either. Plus she has trouble breathing and walking. So it is time to make the hard choice to put her down. I will miss her.
6/13/04 - Driving to Oregon
A long drive though beautiful countryside on a beautiful summer day. Today we drove from Redwood Valley (Map), where we have lived for over 4 years, along the Northern end of Clear Lake to Williams and then North on I5 to Eugene Oregon. Along the way we stopped in Upper Lake for Polish Dogs, drinks, chips and nuts for the road.
We also stopped at The Olive Pit where we found a great variety of Olives, Garlic, Jams & Jellies, Nuts, drinks and great hand packed ice cream. The ice cream was so good in fact, that after we filled the car with gas, my wife sent me back to the Olive Pit for another bowl of cherry and maple nut ice cream. I couldn't resist adding a scoop of my favorite Espresso and Chocolate Chips.
The drive past Lake Shasta and Mount Shasta (Map) was very beautiful as usual. We really love this part of California. It was amazing how green the hills got when we crossed over into oregon though. This too is a beautiful state, but I believe that California has the most beautiful and diverse things to see of any one state or country in the world.
Mt. Shasta in Northern California
I spent a lot of the trip being grateful for not being in a moving van this trip. Last month we brought up a 24 ft truck filled with some of our stuff and put it into storage in McMinnville. That journey was very arduous and slow because of the many hills to be climbed, some at a mere 30 miles per hour. The truck was also very noisy, almost deafening at times.
This trip I sailed along in our Toyota 4Runner and imaged that I was driving our new Diesel Pusher Coach instead.
Our 1998 Toyota 4Runner
I also spent considerable time thinking about the various options I would order for the coach including a 370 HP Cummins Engine, and one of the most important components, a satellite Internet connection. I will be needing this to carry on with my business of selling software and photography on the world wide web.
This evening we stopped at a Loves for gas. It was one of my first experiences with this great truck stop, convenience store and restaurant. My wife bought a big cup for soft drinks with a big heart on the sides. She loves anything with a heart on it, so she is a happy camper. I anticipate filling that cup many time, as we stop at Loves all over the country.
We got a bit of a late start this morning, we had a lot to pack as usual, plus the neighbors horse to feed and my Cadillac to bring home from where we had parked it yesterday. So we got into Eugene after 9 pm and had a bit of trouble finding the Chiles restaurant we wanted to go to. We finally did find it about 9:45 and had a pretty good dinner. We got to use $25 worth of coupons that we had too.
Finally got to our motel 8 room about 11:15 pm and after several trips from the car, settled down for the night. Traveling will be so much easier when we don't have to lug our stuff from car to room and back and can just live out of our home on wheels.
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