Mt. Princeton, Colorado

Affordable campgrounds are hard to come by in Colorado Springs during high season. From May 1st through the end of September campground spots just about double in price. There is a state park on Cheyenne Mountain but every spot was booked for May so we renewed our Passport America membership for the 50% discount at Goldfield Campground. It is a nice enough park on the west side with full hookups, cable, and pretty decent internet but the big drawback is major highway noise right out front and most of the sites are pretty narrow. The management is super nice and didn’t hesitate to move us when we asked. They had to juggle quite a few reservations to make it work too.

After being a way a month we found out what we didn’t need in the motorhome and what we were missing and made several trips to our storage unit very close to the RV park.  We don’t anticipate going back to Colorado Springs with the motorhome for a good long, long while.  Our goal is to keep it out west and use other modes of transport if we go east….fingers crossed that nothing proves us wrong.

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Not all the sites were this close together and we only stayed one night and moved to the end of the row when the neighbor set up his chain smoking station outside our bedroom window in this narrow space.  It was warm out and we couldn’t open our windows as a result. What was he thinking?

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What were we complaining about….THIS is a tight fit!

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Finally the day came to head for the mountains.  The Mt. Princeton area, between Buena Vista and Salida is one of our favorite places for true relaxation.  We like to stay in the Mt. Princeton National Forest Campground along Chalk Creek and explore from there. It’s close to the hot springs resort, a nice lake, waterfalls, and the semi-ghost town of St. Elmo.

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The swiftly running Chalk Creek right beside our camp site is pure music to sleep by.

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The website for this campground states there is a pump for water so we came with practically empty tanks. The water from the hand pump is from a well and is quite dirty with sand in it. We drove 30 miles to buy drinking water and the camp host nicely gave us 10 gallons of his personal water for our tank that we stretched until we left. The camp host fills up a 50 gallon drum from a city plant in Buena Vista about once a week.

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Chalk Lake is 3 or 4 miles farther west and is near the Chalk Creek National Forest campground.

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There is now a $6 day use fee to visit this little lake.  The King of Fees award goes to Colorado.

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This campground only has 17 sites but all are level and although a couple of them could fit a 40 foot RV plus tow vehicle, we were the only Class A in the canyon.

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The forecast called for snow on Monarch Pass for the next 24 hours so we decided not to linger as our time for the next few days was accounted for and we couldn’t be delayed.

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Once over the pass, we always stop in Gunnison for a meal break. There is a large park on the eastern edge of town with plenty of room for multiple RV’s and semi trucks.  Gunnison is home to Western State College and about $20,000 of my and Lauren’s father’s money while she partied here for two years.  End result:  One half year’s worth of credits and peace at home while she was away.

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This route to western Colorado takes us along the 20 mile length of Blue Mesa Reservoir

I am four days behind real time on this blog and hope to catch up eventually. Either we have been extraordinarily busy, as we were in Colorado Springs, or we have been somewhere with no cell phone data or wifi.

It’s Been A While

There is more progress being made every day but at the same time more keeps happening to slow us down.  For instance, while the weather has been unusually warm for over a month, payback is coming later this week. Which means Steve has to take some time off from work to winterize the Allegro and at the same time learn how because the systems are different.

Two days ago I put an ad on Craigslist to sell Tulip and yesterday a couple gave us a deposit to buy her. That was an unexpected quick sale and she wasn’t quite cleaned up yet so there is that to do before we turn her over. And we have to get a small roof leak repaired by Thursday. All the RV techs are booked out, Steve is working, and Thursday our family is having lunch at a restaurant for my mother’s birthday which I forgot about. And today two windows are being replaced.  Next week Tuesday is Steve’s last day at work and then I am promoting him to Chief Coordinator.

The house is a horrible mess. We had a garage sale and already spent the proceeds from that for our trip to Arizona to buy Alice.  Bit by bit we are hauling what didn’t sell plus more over to my mother’s house to have another garage sale.  I still have a few more ads to place for some furniture pieces but then the rest goes either in storage or to my mother’s.  We started taking things to Alice and her outside bins are quickly filling up. But then I noticed Steve took boxes from Tulip over without going through them so that has to be dealt with.

The good news is we made it through the house inspection process without having to do much. The windows were the main items. We don’t know what the house appraised at but it met the sales price at a minimum. So there should be no more hurdles to closing which was moved up by one day to April 7th.

After the closing we will collapse in Alice with a Margarita and not move a muscle for a couple of days.  Then I will catch up on blog reading as I am way behind on keeping up with many of you.

P.S. There is a new item above in the menu for Allegro Alice where you can see some interior pictures.

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I am finally up early enough every morning to see the sunrise. 

Countdown – 51 Days To Freedom

Cannot wait and nor can Steve who has roughly 20 workdays left going to a job he hates like no other. He likes all the people and managers he works with but the job itself is awful.  His job entails suiting up several times a day to work in a clean room with some very nasty and dangerous chemicals. On top of that his days are 12 hours long. It’s jut too much, especially when he is making not much more than Walmart wages while the top guys rake it in. But that is work life in the USA the past 15-20 years.

Steve is one of those people you read about that makes 2/3 less than what he made 15 years ago due to downsizing, outsourcing, the owner of his company buying a basketball team, etc. Thank goodness he CAN quit. I feel so sorry for all the poor workers that are trapped in these low paying, soul sucking jobs. All I can say is save, save, save. And don’t spend, spend, spend.

Much has been accomplished this past week towards freedom day. Within 24 hours we sold a massive three piece desk and also my sewing cabinet that I had tried many times before to get rid of. The contents of those two are sorted and packed into the “keep” and “sell” piles.  Steve has organized the garage into the same two categories with the vast majority ready for a garage sale. Other than a bedroom set, every large piece of furniture will have a home, thanks to my family.

Our spare time has been spent perusing the motorhome ads. What a dilemma that is! I go back and forth, back and forth.  My ideal motorhome would be a 30 foot diesel in order to camp wherever we want.  However, every time I think I have found one that would work, the reviews are negative on top of the fact there are not many in that category to begin with.

We want a quality brand and that leaves many out of the running. It looks like we will have to go with a longer length, but no more than 34 feet.  We made a list of  wants such as pantry, low mileage, a window on each side of the bed, washing machine, larger than average kitchen, a non-booth dinette, and year 2005 through 2007 because of the requirement for non Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel fuel in order to travel in Mexico. That leaves zero in the entire country! Okay, so we delete washing machine and there are two to choose from. We delete wanting a bigger kitchen and there is one that meets all the other criteria. The three we have targeted are as far from us as possible, either in Florida or Washington State.

And that leaves another dilemma: Trade in Tulip or sell her ourselves?  Steve is leaning towards keeping her AND having a bigger motorhome but I can’t see that unless we are committed to shipping  Tulip to Europe for summer travel but Steve says he will never, ever drive in Europe again. After no less than five fender benders over there the last time, I would agree.

I forgot. In addition to getting rid of the bedroom set, there is also this bookcase to sell.Bookcase-1

 

 

 

 

Under Contract!

I have been home from the Caribbean cruise for five days and not had a chance to write a post for the last two ports we stopped in.  The internet on the ship slowed down to the point that reading email was about all anyone could do.

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Alison and Susan

The cruise ended in Galveston, Texas and friends Alison and Susan were at the port waiting for us.  Steve and I met these two cousins on our free cruise to Australia September 2014 when we were assigned to the same table in the dining room. Then coincidentally, Alison and her sister-in-law were in the cabin right next to us on our second free cruise which was to Hawaii December 2014.  After going out for brunch and a bit of shopping in Galveston, Alison and Susan drove us to the Houston airport.  These two cheerfully drove all the way from north of Houston to Galveston and back to Houston for us, probably 200 miles altogether.  Southern hospitality at it’s best and I hope we can repay them someday.

I have to mention that Steve and I have made so many fine friends since we started traveling 6 years ago.  On the other hand, in 9 years of owning our home here we don’t know the name of a single person on our street and no one says hello or is so much as willing to even make eye contact.

I had my phone on airplane mode while out of the country in order to not have roaming charges but once at the Houston airport I checked my phone messages.  For a bit of background, we had listed our house for sale by owner back in November. A full week before I flew home a real estate agent came to the door and told Steve he had some buyers who found our house online and contacted the agent (instead of us–not smart) to see it. Steve asked what the commission would be and he said 3%. That’s $13,470 to do some paperwork and coordinate inspections and appraisals which I could have easily done.  Steve told him I was not at home and he would talk to me about the commission. When Steve sent me an email about it I blew it off.

When I checked my phone messages there were three from the realtor which at first I wasn’t going to respond to. But since I was bored sitting in the airport I decided to call and before he could say anything I told him no we would not show the house to his buyers as we were not going to pay any commission. Evidently, he must have known the buyers were very interested because he said he would check with them to see if they would pay the commission. He called back a few minutes later and said yes they would pay all of it and we set up a showing for the next day, Sunday.

On Tuesday we received an offer and it was exactly 3% less than our asking price. Can you believe it?  However, one half of the married couple buying the house signed the contract as Doctor ……………..  That wasn’t a very smart agent to let her do that because we knew they didn’t have affordability issues when we made a counter offer. It was accepted. Now we just have the hurdle of inspections and the appraisal which I’m not too worried about.

Closing date is set for April 8th and then we will be FREE of property taxes (that subject alone warrants a rant post), homeowners insurance (another rant), a water bill that is an absolutely gouge when we barely use any, sewer bill, natural gas bill, electricity, trash removal, cable, and internet bill. And of course never ending maintenance costs.

The next two months are going to be very busy getting rid of almost everything we own before we take off in our little motorhome Tulip. It is too small to full time in and sooner than later we will buy something larger.