January 31, 2015

It's Gone Forever...

... and we're perfectly happy about that!

We've completed our first two rounds of our Virtual Garage Sale on facebook.  All of the items sold have been delivered to their new homes and we have a little extra cash to put toward our future RV.  So far, it has been a great success.  I would definitely recommend this to you if you need to get rid of your unwanted stuff.  Even those of you not planning to live in your RV full-time, this is a fantastic idea.

round 1: 3 boxes of PartyLite stuff sold

round 1: baby gate, deep cooker and misc stuff sold

round 2: more PartyLite stuff sold

I was a PartyLite consultant for five years and haven't been actively selling it for over two years now.  Boy, it's hard to imagine just how many things I bought, won in raffles & contests or simply earned as a consultant.  I would want to have the newest items on my display table to show my customers just how beautiful it was in real life as compared to a photo in a catalog.  Over the years I put them back in their blue boxes high on the storage shelves at work.  Truth be told -> I still have plenty of pieces around the house that I personally enjoy.

Needless to say, most of the items sold so far have been the many stored PartyLite candle holders and accessories.  In all of the boxes I had stored there was only one thing that I want to keep.  I'm actually glad to see all of those boxes going to new homes.  I've read, and now I understand, how freeing it is to be rid of your possessions. 

I keep looking around the house for more items to put in our VGS.  Eventually it will all have to go so why not sell it already.            

January 20, 2015

Virtual Garage Sale

What an awesome idea: have a Virtual Garage Sale!

One of the great things I like about belonging to and reading different blogs, forums and RV sites is because I get so many ideas from all of the others who have 'gone before me'.  After all, why reinvent the wheel, right?!

This idea came from a fellow RVer who is also a member of the group RVer Wannabees at RVillage.com.  Ivan and Marie are currently in the downsizing phase, as are we.  Their idea is simple and I've already laid the foundation of it.  Facebook is the platform in this idea but I'm sure other social media sites may have something similar.

I started a group called Rene' & Ron's Virtual Garage Sale yesterday.  It's set up as a secret group so you won't find it in a search.  The only people who see the posts are members of the group.  I invited all of my local friends when I initially set up the group to make delivery of the sold items easier.

I'm currently in the process of taking photos with my camera, as opposed to my phone, and then uploading them into an album.  But not all one album -> that would get too big.  I'll make several albums with different titles such as kitchen stuff, games, knick knacks, tools, books & movies, etc.  Then I'll add a short description of the item and my asking price.  When a person is interested in an item all they need to do is add a comment next to the photo.  This creates a first come, first served method.  As the items sell I can easily delete the sold items and the albums are kept neat for more perusing.  I can message the buyer and arrange a meet up for delivery.

I've heard over and over about how people living the full time RV lifestyle wish they starting purging their stuff in the early stages.  I think this will help us to get an early start in the process.

Do you have other ideas that helped you in the purging process?  Thanks for reading and I'll let you know how it turns out in a future post. 

January 12, 2015

Secrets Revealed

I drove down a street the other day.  A street that, once upon a time, was banned from me using it.  Now I take it for granted...

entrance to McClellan Park
Up until McClellan Air Force Base was privatized in 2001, anyone entering had to have permission.  The guard booth and bars were removed and this palm tree lined main entrance is what greets me today.  There are still reminders of what once was a thriving base and yet it's evolving into something better.

one of two identical pillars frame the entrance

When we first located our business near McClellan AFB in 1993, I would wonder what secrets lay behind the bars and guards.  Two years later Jessica's ballet class performed as part of the entertainment for the officers holiday party.  We had to be there a little early.  We were allowed entry into the forbidden base.  It sure would have been exciting to venture beyond the specific route, but we didn't dare chance it...

McClellan had been a logistics and maintenance facility for a wide variety   of military aircraft.  During our years in the area it was primarily a repair facility for F-111, FB-111 and EF-111 aircraft, as well as the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft.  Often times we would hear the test flights and see the jets zoom nearly vertical less than a mile away.  It was only bothersome if we happened to be on the phone at that particular moment.  Otherwise, it was an awesome sight to see!

Ron and I wondered what was going to happen to the area once the base was closed.  We envisioned increased crime rates, increased transients and decreased property values.  Thankfully, those were all fears that did not develop into reality.

I remember the first few times I drove through the base.  It was unbelievable to me -> McClellan was actually a city within a city.  I was amazed that they had their own gas station, their own movie theater, their own fitness gym complete with tennis & basketball courts, their own grocery store (commissary), their own hospital, lots of housing and plenty of very large warehouse type structures.  I knew nothing about military bases or their need to be autonomous.  I was a young mom whose only concern was her family.  What a mind full of new information I received.

Over the years I have driven through the base, now called McClellan Park, more times than I care to count.  I know the back roads and the short cuts.  I regularly visit clients who are tenants at the park.  But there are still a couple of places that I am not allowed to visit.  The commissary requires a military ID to enter.  The VA Hospital is for military personnel only.  The Coast Guard occupies the same area they previously did and is the only remaining government entity at the park.  Of course, the airstrip is off limits too.

While driving through the park to capture these photos, I wondered what life was like in the days of old.  Days when the buildings housed assembly lines of engines awaiting repair .  Days when blackout curtains were the normalcy.  Days when the airstrip held hundreds of planes waiting to fly off into battle.

Enjoy the following photos of McClellan Park and imagine yourself in years gone by:
a grassy area outside the officers quarters

the Headquarters Building is still looking glorious

the General's house sits next to the Headquarters Building

I wonder what was in here

the retired control tower


private and corporate jets occupy the tarmac now



As for myself, I am glad to be neighbors with  McClellan Park.  Although, I do miss a good ol' Mach 1 takeoff...    

January 4, 2015

Bulletin Boards And Brown Signs

You know the ones I'm talking about.  The somewhat obnoxious ones scattered along the highways, byways and roads around town and throughout the country.

As we were driving home last week, I had a chance to notice more of them since I was a captive passenger for half of the time.

Turns out they're not ALL obnoxious.

I even began to take photos of some of them.  WHY on earth would she do that??, you might wonder.

Here's the simple truth:

1.  I want to remember what is on the drive.  In the years ahead, when we are living on the road, we may find ourselves in the area again.  I think some of the places sound very interesting and I would like to actually visit them.
2.  Perhaps some of my readers have been to these same places and have some insight as to whether it's worth stopping or not.
3.  Sometimes I have a bad memory and by taking a photo, I don't have to rely on my 'filing system' to be 100% accurate.

Here are a few of the photos I did remember to take a snapshot of during our drive:

Bearizona, located off I-40 near Williams, AZ is a drive-thru wildlife park.  It's open year round except for Christmas Day.  How exciting to be able to see bears, bison, big horn sheep and others from the safety of my car.  There are shows you can view, such as Birds of Prey, Live Animal Meet & Greet, Otter Feeding and Bear Aware Keeper Chat.  I imagine they are in a different area away from the car experience.  Admission is $20 for adults, less for children.  They say to allow 2 hours for the experience.  I think it would be worth it.

Meteor Crater, just off I-40 west of Winslow, AZ, is the breath-taking result of a collision between a piece of an asteroid traveling at 26,000 miles per hour and planet Earth approximately 50,000 years ago.  Just reading about it now makes me sad that we didn't have time to stop.  Next time!  Meteor Crater is open year round except for Christmas Day.  Admission price ($16 for adults, less for children) includes 3 lookout points on the rim of the crater, an Interactive Discovery Center, a theater showing the movie “Collisions and Impacts” as well as a guided tour on the rim of the crater.  FYI-pets are not allowed.

At first, I wasn't sure what Walnut Canyon, just off I-40 near Flagstaff, AZ, was all about but it's a brown sign so I took a photo.  According to the website, "you can imagine what life was like along and within Walnut Canyon while visiting actual pueblos and walking in the steps of those who came before us."  Admission prices are very reasonable at just $5 for a 7-day pass for age 16+ and free for those under 16.  There is also a visitor center, bookstore, picnic area and museum.  The park is open year round except for Christmas Day.  Pets are not allowed in buildings or on the trails.  This sounds like an interesting place to stop.  Plus, Flagstaff is nearby with many more places to explore.

I have read many bloggers talk about Lake Havasu City.  It is a resort town with a huge variety of indoor and outdoor activities to entertain people of all ages.  Activities offered include boating, cycling, hiking, shopping, golfing, gambling, shooting ranges, off road adventuring, birding plus so many more.  There are 23 replica lighthouses along the lake shore and the island.  Each one is a 1/3 scale fully functional replica of the original lighthouse.  Who thought that there would be lighthouses in a desert lake environment?!  Of course, the famous London Bridge is a huge draw to the area.  Lake Havasu is 30 miles south of I-40 just inside the western Arizona border.  If we had more time and daylight on our recent trip we would have considered stopping by for a visit.

There are some other attractions along I-40 that I think are worth visiting.  I was unable to get photos of their brown signs but I did remember a few places.  They include:
  • Ice Cave & Bandera Volcano.  Located 25 miles south west of Grants, NM.  Open March through October.  Where else can you see an ice cave AND a volcano in the same area?  Sounds quite interesting.
  •  Red Rock State Park near Gallup, NM is right near the I-40 freeway.  I did try to get a photo, but it came out blurry as we drove past.  New Mexico has 40 state parks, 8 national wildlife refuges, 5 national forests and many other state and national areas.  
  • Route 66 follows closely along with portions of the current Interstate 40.  We saw many markers for an exit to historical route 66 along our drive.  Some cities along our travels advertised museums, souvenir shops and vintage roadways.
  • Albuquerque, NM is a growing city with museums, a zoo, nearby hiking and of course the famous annual Balloon Festival held in October.  I'd like to park the RV local and spend 3 weeks just enjoying the town and all of it's attractions.                                          
I'd love to be able to write a blog report on each of these bulletin board/brown sign attractions.  In time, we will visit them and see them for ourselves.

Have you been to any of these places yourself?  What are they like and are they worth the admission price?  Is there a place you're dying to get to once you hit the road?  Is there a place local to Sacramento, CA that you'd like us to visit and blog about?  Let me know in the comments below.

January 2, 2015

OK-CA In Three Days

Wow! That was three days in the car I don't care to repeat any time soon...

Don't get me wrong: the company was great.  It's just the length of the trip and the need to beat the weather that I (we) could definitely do without!

I had been watching the weather forecast for a few days before our scheduled departure and knew a large cold front was heading south.  So, on Monday morning, with a few tears in our eyes, we left Alex & Rocky and headed west.

Mondays drive was uneventful, which is a good thing.  There wasn't any more snow on the roads near Alex's home.  It had mostly melted by then.  We had driven through three states that day - Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.  We made our anticipated overnight stop in Albuquerque just after dark.  We gained an hour due to the time zone change.

Tuesday we looked east as we drove out of Albuquerque and were very glad we were heading in the opposite direction.  We saw large storm clouds over the mountain pass we had driven over the day before.  I'm sure it was already snow covered and difficult to drive.  Our car thermometer said 28 degrees at 9am.  We knew we made the right decision to leave Alex's when we did.

Our drive through the next few states included the remainder of New Mexico, Arizona and concluded just inside the California border at Needles.  Another time zone was crossed just before our arrival.

Red  Rock Canyon State Park, near Gallup NM

snow on the desert ground, near Gallup, NM
This particular area of the drive was brown and seemingly drab on my way to Oklahoma.  The view out the windows on the drive home was vastly different.  Luckily we weren't around when it was coming down.

Wednesdays drive was not as easy as the previous two days.  We had studied the weather forecast for two main areas on our drive, Barstow and Tehachapi Pass.  Both areas reported that the roads were clear and driving conditions were fine.  We had planned to leave early.  We were fed, packed and out the door by 8:40. 

Unfortunately, we didn't beat the snow coming into Needles.  The ground outside our hotel room had a light dusting, although the highway was clear.  Things started to get worse about 30 minutes into the drive.  By then we weren't in a position to turn around safely and we had to forge ahead.  The falling snow had begun to accumulate on the highway.  We could see where cars had previously driven and followed their tracks.  I'm so glad I had Ron to drive at this point!  I don't do snow.  We were going at a near snails pace, along with everyone else.  We survived Round One.

Round Two was a little further down the highway.  Not nearly as severe as round one, but we were glad to have it behind us.

mountains west of Needles, CA getting covered with snow
Thankfully there was no Round Three.  It was a scary drive through the mountains just west of Needles, but we made it in one piece.

The weather reports were true.  Barstow and Tehachapi Pass were clear as we drove over them.  The sky was gray and cloudy but no more snow fell on us for the remainder of our drive.

Once onto Highway 99 we knew we were out of the danger zone.  The rest of the drive was white knuckle free.