Saturday, Sep 19th, 2015
Since my last post that is. We're still alive and kicking and all of my intent to update this blog has been met with a combination of apathy and extreme busyness. I suppose I could summarize things pretty well though. In 2014 we travelled all the way to California and back. We broke down in Iowa, I had other issues there besides that and then we also had trouble with a woman in California. If you plan to go to California and camp in the state parks, it's probably worthwhile to just bite the bullet and get a little Honda or Yamaha generator that you can place where you want in your campsite than using the big generator. People can be... well people. To give context though it was running for 10 minutes at 5pm before she went nuts. 10 minutes.
But in retrospect looking back on the trip those few bad moments are overridden by an overwhelming majority of mostly food related good memories. There was Fasta Pasta in Tahoe, Sprouts in Tahoe, Ikes Sandwiches and more. We inadvertently parked at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds right when there was a wine festival so we got drunk on free tastings of amazing wine repeatedly.
Overall though I wouldn't go back to western California. The coast was scenic and I'd probably make the Pacific Coast Highway drive again but really I wouldn't try to camp anywhere along there in a serious motorhome, near the Valley anyway. Maybe a lack of familiarity with California and the "personality" is what got me into trouble. Eastern California, that is the drive down US 395, was amazing. Pretty much the whole drive has amazing views of the Sierra Nevadas awesome free and low cost places to stay and tons of breathing room. 395 itself is actually a very high quality road which is odd compared to some of California's highways.
Besides Tahoe though, which had it's own share of weirdos, my favorite place was Lake Havasu. Imagine my surprise to find out it is pretty much the spring break capital of the US. There are annual cigarette boat races there. The amount of money people spend on these boats is absolutely preposterous, exactly how I like it. People are noisy, boisterous, friendly, and drunk. Havasu has the actual London bridge that was broken down piece by piece and setup to connect an island to the main land. People cruise at idle speed through the channel and under the bridge, some of them over and over again. I did it once or twice with the family on our rented wave runner but for the most part I flew at full throttle all around the lake. It was a really great experience tarnished only by killer attack fire ants that invaded our rig (which is very uncommon for them). We had to sit there killing them one by one with a spoon because their shells are so strong smashing them with a paper towel was ineffective.
If I had to take another trip now, I would try to see more of Utah, Colorado, New mexico and Texas. I probably would hit Tahoe again but this time I would just go straight down 395. And this would only be after visiting Colorado and Utah. Our trip had to be cut short, around 2 months because of a promise to my mother to be back for Thanksgiving. This time I would make no such promises.
Long time readers know that I started an IT consulting company at the same time we started travelling before. The idea was to see the country and build the business during my forced unemployment while I find clients. This was a bad idea! We saved up enough money that we were okay but nothing could ever get me past the stress. The idea that instead of sightseeing I should really be back at the rig because what if nothing ever develops? Alas it didn't go that way and since then I have developed a diverse yet equally needy client base. This year we didn't get to travel at all and I've been working 12 hour days 7 days a week most of the summer (except on the random days when family and rig or car maintenance pulls me away). The hope is that these projects will settle down towards winter as I have nothing at all lined up other than maintenance and support agreements which thankfully are enough to tide me through even the longest dryspells now.
Throughout all of this we've been with our 3 year old son. He's developed a rather strong personality and we are theorizing that a lot of it is due to him thinking he is an adult. We're in a small space and everything here is very accessible to him. He's a restless kid and wants to learn how to do everything whether we want him to or not. He's capable and smart yet would prefer to not learn to talk. He's bilingual which doesn't help. As travellers we really haven't found much of any full time families that are similar to us. There are fulltime families but they often have either 20 kids or seem to be aimless with no real ambition or goals, both of which just are just indicative that we'd probably have nothing in common. I know, I know, the point of fulltiming is to calm down and live a simpler life or something. No thanks, not for me. I don't mind the complexity of an old diesel pusher. I like tinkering with race cars and I'm willing to take on anything. To be fair there are a several blogging couples and families out there that fit the bill who post on facebook groups, etc but we never seem to cross paths. I certainly never see such groups in our usual places. There are plenty of older fulltimers that are nice and I'd love to hang with but they are often at over 55 parks. So we've decided that he goes to school and the good school we got him into in Florida near her family starts in September and if you're not here in September you don't get in. So now we're stuck 9 months out of the year for the sake of our son - which to be honest is worth it because in a few short weeks his personality is really coming around as he has to deal with the routine and sees all the other kids falling in line and realizes that he's the problem. It doesn't surprise me that he is the way he is, as I have a really serious problem with anyone at all telling me what to do.
So at this point if we're in Florida 9 months out of the year we might as well look for real estate. We're bouncing back and forth between building a small home on 5-10 acres or buying something used and already there. I'm torn as if I have a big expensive house I really won't feel comfortable leaving it for months at a time to travel in the summer when he's off school. There was an opportunity that passed by primarily because someone else decided to pay way too much for it. The real estate market in the rural sarasota area is very strange. Or even in non-rural area. Basically you can buy a run down mobile home or block house that's 40 years old on 3-5 acres for $150,000. You can buy reasonably large to massive house for $300,000-$400,000 but the pickings for this are SLIM. We would like something closer to $200,000 that needs some work but is a nice chunk of land and a house and that is impossible. People think their 10 acres, 3/4 of which is unbuildable unsubdividable protected wetlands are worth insane amounts of money. So we wait.
It's very strange though becuase if you pony up $600,000 or so, the houses are absolute mansions. I mean guest houses, pools with fountains, crazy crazy stuff. It would almost be better to find another family willing to spend $300K and go in and live there together. Heck they'd get full run of the house when we leave over the summer too. In the end it's not that we're looking for a 3000 square foot house. After all we've lived in an 8 foot wide box for years. The only thing we'd really need is a 2nd bedroom for my son until he realizes he's a kid and has to follow rules. But the trouble is all the small houses are *really* *really* run down and far from hurricane safe. So we'd have to build I think.So that's where we're at. Stuck in Florida.. But Florida is beautiful and I really like it here. I'm working long long days, in fact I worry that if I post here and my clients notice they'll get pissed that I'm spending time on this instead of their already missed deadline. But such is life. The one thing is for sure, my business is a success, my family is happy and healthy and everything else will just fall into line.
PS: The pics really don't serve any context to the post, but everyone loves pictures.