The end of The Excellent Adventure

This past week was spent setting up the house.

Since everything was dirty from storage, each item had to be cleaned before entering the house.  Miraculously, there was very little damage from storage and shipping.

Opening each box was a voyage of discovery.  Slowly, all the things personal to our lives revealed themselves: pictures, souvenirs, ceramics, books, tools, etc.  Even the Lava Lamp.  It was all there and slowly wrapped us with familiarity.  Our new house is beginning to feel like home.

There is no point in writing about setting up the household; every reader of this triplog knows the drill.

However, this is the end of the Excellent Adventure.

In a little over two years, we have seen more of the country the most folks see in a lifetime.  Some places are prettier than others, some more interesting than others, but all have something unique if you look for it.  This really is a big, beautiful country and hopefully, someday, you will have the opportunity to enjoy it as we have.

We learned that the country is full of people going about their daily business, each making a contribution in his or her own way.  We met lots of interesting and talented people and hope they enjoyed sharing a few moments with us as we enjoyed sharing time with them.

So, dear triplog readers, this is the end.  Thank you for traveling along with us; we hope you enjoyed it as much as we have.

It is now time for us to move on with the rest of our lives.


We have been on the go now for over a week and all the activity is beginning to take a toll.  We are very tired.

The temp help showed up right on time.  The young guy looked like he was recently released from prison and the older guy looked like he was on step four of a 12 step AA program.  They did, however, get us unloaded with a minimum of fuss.  We gave them a generous tip and ride back to the temp agency.  I hope the extra money was wisely spent.  By noon, we turned in the Penske truck.

Contemporary Note:  Aside from our real estate broker, we literally did not know a single person in town.  Nobody.  Yes, we had some business dealings with escrow, the Penske dealer and a few others, but we did not KNOW anyone.

This state of affairs led us to calling the workforce center for some temporary help.  The guys they sent out really did do a good job and the younger guy kept an eye on the older one in a protective sort of way. 

At the end of the day all our stuff was in our house. 

Can you hear me?

After two days of driving, we finally made it back to our new home.  I drove the truck while Jeanne followed in the Jeep.  We communicated via walkie-talkie.

The truck handled a little better loaded, but the ride could never be considered comfortable.  It was like spending two days in a vibrating metal box.  On one section of highway, the bumps in the road were perfectly spaced to get the truck airborne.  I swear there was a brief moment of weightlessness before everything came crashing down with the force of three Gs.  Jeanne saw it happen and immediately got on the radio to ask if everything was o.k.  We guessed that we were hauling 500 pounds of broken tableware.

The noise was deafening.  On long uphill pulls, the screeching duo of radiator fan and turbo boost sounded like a 747 at full power.  My ears were still be ringing hours later; I hope there is no permanent hearing loss.  Clearly, the truck was set up for local deliveries.  You can imagine the relief when we pulled up to the house and shut the thing off.

So far, all phases of the plan were flawlessly executed and all that remains is unloading and setup.  With a little luck, tomorrow we will empty and return the truck.


We were too wound up to get a good night sleep.  First thing in the morning, we returned to Penske to rent the bigger truck.  No problem.  By 8:00 AM we were on our way to the storage facility.  Luckily, the truck could navigate the tight turns.

Danny met us at the storage unit and within three hours the truck was loaded.  He really gave it a good effort and his help was very much appreciated.  It was a miracle we got everything in; the 22 foot truck would never have held it all.  Before closing the storage door for the last time, we swept the unit and took a moment to reflect.  Virtually all our household goods were quietly resting there for almost three years.  Now the space was empty and we were about to move to our new home in Colorado.  How quickly things can change.

We parked the truck at CeeCee’s before visiting her at the hospital one last time.  In the morning, we would be leaving California behind.

The coach is sold!

There is a saying among boating enthusiasts that the happiest day of your life is buying a boat, and the second happiest days is selling the boat.  I suppose the same is true for motor homes.

We woke early, had a leisurely breakfast and returned to the coach.  For the last time we emptied the tanks, unhooked the power, aired the suspension, raised the levelers and pulled in the slides.  For a long time, this had been our routine and it was all going to end.  We loaded the very last of our stuff into the Jeep before heading for the dealership, which was only two freeway off ramps away.

On the short trip, I recalled the feeling to terror when we first took delivery of the coach and drove it off the lot.  The first time behind the wheel, I didn’t have a clue how to drive something that big.  Back then, with a shrug of the shoulders, I fired it up, drove off the lot and immediately got on the freeway.  It was a white knuckle ride.  Now, two and a half years later, here I was cruising down the freeway for the last time.  It could have been an out-of-body experience.

We pulled into the dealer at 10:30 and immediately got down to business.  All the paperwork was ready and the process took less than 30 minutes.  The coach was sold and that was that.  What a strange feeling knowing we would not be returning to it to fix our meals, watch TV or sleep.  It was no longer ours.  It was gone.

But the story continues. . .

Just as the Excellent Adventure didn’t begin with the purchase of the coach, it doesn’t end with its sale.  The whole point of the trip was to find a place to live.  Moving our stuff and getting set up is all part of the story.  So, the saga doesn’t end quite yet.  Think of it as a action-thriller movie where you think the bad guy is dead only to have him return for another gruesome scene.  It ain’t over till its over.

Furniture Follies

We spent the night at CeeCee’s house and noticed the house didn’t budge when the wind blew or when one of us was moving around.  We can get used to this.

The plan for the day was to drive to Los Angeles to pick up Grandpa’s drum.  The whole Grandpa-Drum thing is vague.  My father used to talk about Grandpa playing it in parades, but I have no clue as to the purpose or what organization he belonged to.  What I do know is that his drum, a field drum (slightly larger than a snare drum) was quietly resting in a closet in my mother’s house for 50 years.  When she died, I put it on consignment hoping some collector would buy it and give it a good home.  As fate would have it, there happens to be a perfect place to display it in our new home and we made arrangements to pick it up.

We drove to Los Angeles early enough to have breakfast and stop at a furniture store (The Furniture Barn) before picking up the drum.  Jeanne wanted some replacement knobs for the dining room hutch.  Little did we know what was in store for us.

Before returning to California, it was clear we needed living room chairs and a small breakfast table and chairs.  We found the style we wanted in Grand Junction, but were a little put off by the prices and decided to keep looking.  For any economist reading this triplog, our perception of price vs. value wouldn’t reconcile.

The Furniture Barn is familiar to us.  They carry a good selection of wood furniture, mostly oak, at good prices.  We stopped there to pick up replacement knobs but got sidetracked looking at furniture.  To make a long story short, we ended up buying a breakfast table with chairs and two reclining chairs for the living room.  The recliners were Chinese knockoffs that were less than half the cost of the originals.  We were thrilled, but how were we going to get this stuff back to Ventura?

Here was the plan: Make a dash to Ventura to pick up the Penske truck one day early and drive like hell back to Los Angeles to load the furniture.  Yeah, we can do it!  No problem!  Its only 120 miles round trip, in traffic!  After picking up the drum and making a few phone calls, we were on our way to Penske.

For about three weeks, we have been going back and forth on truck size.  The issue is maneuvering room in the storage facility.  We know a 22 foot truck could make the tight turns, but the next size up, the 26 foot truck, might be too long.  We rented the 22 footer, but my little voice warned of a self-inflicted disaster.

For readers who never drove on California roads in an industrial strength vehicle, the roads are extremely unforgiving.  In an unloaded 22 foot truck with coal wagon-like suspension, the ride is absolutely jolting.  Our dental fillings were coming loose and chunks of wax fell from our ears.  Jeanne’s earrings battered her senseless.  Conversation was out of the question.

When we finally arrived at The Furniture Barn and loaded the table and chairs, we realized, at the same instant, that the 22 foot truck was too small.  When we called the folks at Penske, they just laughed and said it happens all the time; no problem renting a bigger truck.  Except for the jolting return trip to Ventura, we were relieved.

We get lucky

Plans for the day included picking up the mattress, visiting CeeCee and make final arrangements to sell the coach in Los Angeles.

Selling the coach in Los Angeles would mean a 130 mile round trip drive through traffic and a possible hassle with the dealer.  We were not looking forward to this necessary evil, but we could see no way out.  Then, we got lucky.

While driving to storage to pick up the mattress, Jeanne noticed a balloon floating over the local RV dealer with the words “RV SALE” on it.  She reasoned that if they were selling, they might also be buying.  Sound logic and we decided to give it a try after wrestling with the mattress.  We stopped by that morning and fortunately were able to talk with the General Manager.  We discussed our situation and told him what the Los Angeles dealer was offering.  He said he would match it, but wanted to see the rig first.  We arranged to meet at the coach at 2:00 PM.  Upon inspection, it was clear he liked the rig and commented how we kept it in top condition.  We finalized the price, shook hands and would meet at 10:30 the next morning to sign papers.

It would be our last night in the coach.

Victory Lap!

After two days of driving, we arrived in Ventura.

The trip was long and uneventful.  Without two tons of stuff (literally) the coach seemed to fly down the highway.  We had planned to stop in Mesquite for the night, but we made good time and decided to stay at the Oasis RV Park on the south end of Las Vegas.  Driving through Vegas would be easier on a Sunday evening than a Monday morning.  Fortunately, the Oasis park had plenty of spaces and gave us a pull-through for the night.  We had dinner at a Baja Fresh and immediately went to bed.

On the second day of the drive, the trip from Las Vegas to Ventura was about what we expected.  Except for the lousy California roads, the trip was uneventful and we pulled into the Ventura RV Park around 3:30 in the afternoon.  After quickly setting up, which was easy with an empty rig, we headed to the hospital to visit CeeCee.  The hospital kicked us out around 6:00 PM and we spent the rest of the evening with family.

Escrow Closes!

Today is the big day.

We met the broker at the house and received the keys and garage door clicker.  There were no problems with the close, all funds were received and would be disbursed as agreed.  The house was ours.

It was time to get to work.  The first stop was the post office to get the mailbox key changed and to hold our mail while we’re in California.  Fortunately, we got there before anyone left and were able to get everything done on the list.  In Los Angeles, it would have been a fight after a 30 minute wait.

We returned to the coach, fired it up and headed for the house.  Mid-morning on Friday, there was little traffic in the neighborhood and we could unload without disturbing anybody.  Within two and a half hours, the coach was empty.  It is hard to believe that everything we needed to live could be moved by hand in such a short period of time.  You really can make yourself quite comfortable with very little.  Within three hours, the coach was back at the RV park and we were cleaning it will extreme prejudice.  We scrubbed it top to bottom until it was as clean as the day we picked it up.  We even vacuumed the underneath storage areas.

The folks interested in buying the rig stopped by and informed us they would take a pass.  We were relieved.  The transaction would have been too complicated and selling to a dealer in California would be a cleaner deal.  It was one of those stick-to-the-original-plan moments, although it would cost us a few bucks.

By the end of the day, between the unloading and cleaning the coach, we were dead tired.  Dinner was fast food.

Sleeping arrangements were marginal.  Our good mattress was in the house and we had to use the mattress from the pop-out bed, which was too short, too thin and too narrow.  It would not be a restful night.

Making Preparations

The past two days were mostly spent mostly trying to stay busy.

We managed to get in one last workout at the small gym in Fruita by convincing the new owner, a real weenie, that we were paid up until the 27th.

Knowing that we would be moving out of the coach, we have been slowly eating our way through food supplies.  Except for packages of Blue Ice and a bottle of Tabasco sauce, the fridge is empty.  Jeanne boxed up the stuff we have in the rig and I concentrated on preparing the underneath storage.  The rig even got a sponge bath.  Here’s the plan: after receiving the keys, we pull the rig up to the house and unload all but the bare essentials.  Essentially, everything goes but the sleeping bag, some clothes and a few things we will need for the move.  With the coach unloaded, we leave for California at the earliest possible moment.  In fact, by unloading the coach, the house will have everything we need to live with the exception of a refrigerator.

After making a few last-minute calls to confirm the transfer of funds and reservations in Las Vegas and Ventura, there was nothing else to do but go to bed and lay awake worrying if something would go wrong.