Downstairs in my kitchen

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Road Trips

While waiting for the house to sell, I've kept busy with writing and also with road trips. Some old friends from Portland Oregon needed help moving to New Mexico and when I volunteered to help, they flew me up so I could drive one of the UHaul trucks down for them.

Flights of fancy

When you live in Silver City, going to the airport means driving to Tucson or El Paso. It's a tossup, but the weather was getting nice so the day before my flight, Dagny and I went to Tucson, and we camped that night at Colossal Caves. It was great and in the morning, as we sat in our chairs eating breakfast, we got a visit from several cardinals--two males and a female. We'd never seen cardinals in the wild before and they were gorgeous. They knew it too, and they posed in the trees and came within a few feet to give us a good look.

Being able to camp out on February 9th is one of the attractions of the Southwest.

On the road again

Portland has grown a lot since the last time I was there. I was actually going to Gresham, and it felt like Gresham was bigger than the Portland I remembered.

We finished loading and two days later, headed out in a convoy of three trucks and a car. As road trips go, this isn't the ideal strategy, partly because the nature of the vehicles and the weather dictated that we get on major freeways, point our noses south, and just drive to LA, turn left (harder than it sounds) onto I-10 and drive to Lordsburg, NM, where you head back up into the mountains. On the other hand, the roads were predictable, except that I-5 and parts of I-10 were in terrible shape. We were bounced around. I've seen better roads in Cambodia. It was hard to believe that a place that is so dependent on cars doesn't make the roads a priority. Arizona does much better.

But we did it. We and the stuff survived, so we called it a success.

Preparation for getting underway

 Now we are home, but Dagny and I are making a trip to Phoenix early next month. She's been modifying the van, tweaking it to be better suited for our on-the-road lifestyle, and we'll camp at Lake Roosevelt for a couple of nights (coming and going to Phoenix) and see how well it all works and give her ideas for more mods.

We've camped at Lake Roosevelt before and it's a lovely place.


We are evolving toward heading out the door, not waiting for the house to sell in that respect. Already we've gotten rid of stuff, and even at home, we are starting to winnow down our cooking utensils to the things we can fit in the van.

Fitting things into the van and still being able to cook, sleep, work... It's a challenge.

I've pretty much worked out my idea of a minimal office. I'll upgrade my computer before we hit the road, but ditch a lot of the "clever" gadgets that I thought might make things easier and me more productive. As it turns out, I'm better off taking a step backward, getting back to just writing on paper and then using a computer as a typewriter for a second draft. There's a lot involved in that decision, but what it comes down to is that I need to focus on the writing and not the tools. I love working in Scrivener, and I love my Mac Book Pro, but anything else is window dressing that will require maintenance. I'll get a newer Mac Book Pro because they don't have hard disks, and living on the road is hard on mechanical things. When we get a boat, salt water is always an issue. I went through a lot of computers the last time we lived on a boat and the most common failure was the hard drive.

So onward and upward.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Control What You Can

When I get involved in a project, whether its moving, or writing a book, or learning something new, the only part that is hard for me is waiting. Things might be difficult or frustrating, but if they are within my control, persisting, pushing ahead, feels good.

But waiting? Sitting around until someone else makes a decisions, accomplishes a task... not so easy.

Selling the house involves a lot of waiting, and I can't control most of that. And I can't do anything about moving until I know when the house will sell.

But there are things I can do. I can write stories, update this blog, and work on short-term projects that lay the groundwork for the next steps, and make them easier. Those things I can do, and they are important.

Every moment of an adventure doesn't feel adventurous. I just have to remind myself of that.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Maintaining Communications

The other day we called the people in Panama who are selling a boat we are very interested in. Very. We can't make a move until the house sells, and although there are people interested in our house, they have a series of decisions to make and things to do before that can be real, if it is. So although they are very interested in our house, they can't promise anything.

I makes a frustrating, but understandable cycle. And being poised to jump without any idea whatsoever about when we can jump, takes a toll.

So we come up with ideas. If the house were to sell, and the boat was still available, I'd fly to Panama, meet the owners and see the boat. I'd meet with lawyers there to talk about a resident visa (pensionado), which I'm already working on collecting the documents for.

It's a jigsaw puzzle without any border pieces.


For the time being about all we can do is maintain communications, both with the people with the boat, with the people interested in the house. Keep communicating and make preparations.

Unfortunately, that too is part of the adventure, just as surely as logistics are part of an expedition. Not all components of adventure are thrilling. Sometimes the effort is to stay steady as she goes and wait for the horizon to appear.

The boat we are interested in isn't a catamaran, but I'm in the mood for a picture of a boat and I happened to have this one handy.