I'm the author of the book "A Passion for the Edge: Living Your Dreams Now." It's about a 6,500 mile motorcycle trip across Alaska, The Yukon Territories, British Columbia, and the Pacific Northwest - and about how to live your dreams. This blog is about another dream - selling our house, putting everything we need for a two year adventure into an RV, and spending time with family and friends; and being saturated by the people and places of America. You're invited to share this adventure with us. We have no firm plans, just each day as it comes and an idea for our tomorrows. Hope you enjoy the story as it unfolds.
Blog Log - Joan and Tim: On the Road and RVing in America
We did laundry in preparation for our trip tomorrow and at noon called our realtor to ensure the sale was finalized. We had lots of things come up over the last several weeks that could have delayed the timing of the sale but everything worked out OK. When we called, our realtor asked if we sometimes feel we're living in a soap opera. I said, "Yes.Why?" Evidently the closer for the buyers bank was holding up the transfer of money for the house because he thought there was something that should be repaired on our deck stairs. Our realtor got a contractor to write a letter indicating all was OK and eventually the closer released the funds and the sale was filed. The soap opera was finally over.
We had a lovely dinner that evening at the Moose's Tooth with our daughter Noel. Afterwards we all went to our scary hotel room and toasted the sale of our house with a marvelous bottle of red wine Noel had bought for this occasion (sweet) then finished a marvelous evening visiting into the night.
July 21, 2011
Between numerous (see you later not good bye) diners with friends and family we were able to get all the required repairs contracted and completed, house re-roofed, movers in to pack and load our household goods, carpets shampooed, and final cleaning, patching walls, and touchup painting done just in time to go in and sign the closing papers today. Whew!!!
We moved into a hotel that takes pets for today and tomorrow (when the sale is filed) with the idea of heading down the highway on Saturday July 23. The hotel was one we were not familiar with and looked nice on the internet but turned out to be a little scary and in poor condition – a little texture to the start of our adventure.
June 5, 2011
Things have been happening to keep us on-track for driving the Al-Can this summer (praise God). We had a contingency offer on our house (contingent on being able to sell their home here in Anchorage). We accepted the contingency with a clause that would allow us to continue marketing our house but giving them the right to remove their contingency if we received another offer. Then we then had an offer by a second party, the contingency couldn't be removed buy the first party so house now has a contract with second party without a contingency. Still lots to do – getting title search done, new as-built, buyers home inspection, final repairs on home, appraisal, scheduling roofer to replace roof on house (part of the sales agreement we reached with buyers), scheduling movers, sorting everything in the house (into items we need for our RV, items to store, items to take with us down the Al-Can, and items to give away), endless runs to the dump, final cleaning of the house, etc. Time is racing by. We feel like we're being flung into the future but excited to start our new life adventure.
There are still plenty of RV's for sale in the Pacific Northwest. We're focusing on a 34 to 40 foot late model Holiday Rambler or Tiffin Allegro diesel pusher with 4-slides. If all goes according to the current schedule, we should be in L-48 shopping for our RV by early to mid August. Yes!!!
May 6, 2011
No meeting of the minds on the offer for our home. Offer-counter offer-walk away. That's not what's in the script. It's offer-counter offer-counter offer-counter offer-agree. Oh well, guess there wasn't any passion in the offer they made or maybe I learned a lesson. In this buyer's market, if an offer is near your bottom line it's probably best to just accept and get on with it. The offer made was about $10,000 below my bottom line but a "bird in the hand" does have some value too. Lesson learned.
Of course, the garage door opener went out. Guess it didn't want anything to do with new owners. Having a new one installed on Monday.
A sunny day today so started prepping our asphalt driveway (filling cracks) so I can recoat it.
Also, going to call the roofer next week to have some routine maintenance done on our roof.
It's still feeling a lot like being a concrete slab home owner – ready to transition to RVing.
May 5, 2011
After five weeks on the market and 26 showings we finally had our first offer on the house (nothing firm yet so we're still showing our home). Currently in the counter offer, counter-counter offer stage. Looks like there's an interest, just not a meeting of the minds yet. Hope things work out as this would mean our house would sell at a great time to start our trip down the Al-Can highway to the lower-48 (mid to late June).
Interesting. As we finalize the transition from home bound to RVing America we're finding the bureaucracy is not friendly to people without a concrete slab under their house. Things like drivers licenses, car/RV plates, insurance for our vehicles, and insurance for our household items in storage require a permanent address that's not a PO box (can't convince anyone we'll be living in a PO box). Passion pushes through the roadblock and finds a way. We've had friends offer to let us use their address as our permanent address, which is great, but our daughter and son-in-law living in Fairbanks have said we could use their address for such things. A good solution as they'll know where we are most of the time. Also, found an insurance company (Deans & Home) that specialize in insurance for storage units. So, all these obstacles seem to have disappeared.
We purchased the 2011 edition of RV Parks and Campgrounds that covers the US and Canada. We've used this before in previous RV travels around America and find it to be an indispensable resource. It has a description and contact information for RV camping sites just about everywhere in North America. Great tool when traveling through unfamiliar places but also useful for finding places to go for week-end or week trips near where you live. Recommend it.
April 19, 2011
Our house has been on the market 26 days and had 21 showings – one day we had 4 showings. Currently, a person is considering an offer but nothing firm yet. Keeping our house picture perfect while living in it and continuing to sort stuff in preparation for a major life event is a little stressful. We're still trashing what we don't need, giving away what others can use, selling some things, and soon we'll begin dividing what we plan to keep into two groups – what we're taking in the RV and what we'll be storing. Crazy life style. Glad this part's only temporary.
We've been looking for an suitable RV in the Anchorage area but there's very little to choose from and what's available costs significantly more than in the L-48.So, we've decided on another adventure. Drive the Alcan Highway and buy an RV in the Pacific Northwest.However, our Jeep Wrangler (which we plan to tow behind our RV once we have it) is too small for both the things we need on the road and our dog Tilly (a Border Collie – click here to see a YouTube video of Tilly in our Blazer ). Our other car, a 1996 Blazer, has almost 150,000 miles on it and may not be dependable on the Alcan trip. So, we had a luggage rack installed on the Jeep and wired the Blazer to tow the Jeep. Our plan is to put our luggage in the Jeep, tow it, and Tilly can have the back of the Blazer. Then, in a worst case situation, if the Blazer breaks down we'll put our luggage on top of the Jeep, Tilly would go in the back of the Wrangler (crowed for a Border Collie but bearable for a little while), and drive to the next town to have our Blazer towed and repaired. Once in the Pacific Northwest we'll buy an RV and sell the Blazer. Yea, the Alcan trip feels like living on the edge. But, life's an adventure and this'll just add texture to the beginning of our RVing America dream.
March 24, 2011
Yesterday, after a lot of hard work, our house was finally ready for show and our realtor (Beth Simpson) set up a preview showing for 10 of Anchorages top realtors from various agencies. Feedback was positive and a few indicated they currently had clients that might be interested.
Today, a photographer came by to take pictures for a virtual tour of the house and it was officially listed and placed in the MLS. Of course, this means we have to have our home show ready at all times, and every time it's shown we have to take our dog Tilly and leave. By 8pm this evening we were called about a showing tomorrow morning! Beth warned us the first three weeks after listing we could expect a lot of traffic.There's still a ton of sorting and moving details to attend to at the same time. This will require us to plan so we can have things picked up and get out of the house with only a 15 to 30 minute notice. Interesting times ahead - living like minutemen.
March 17, 2011
Our house has been inspected and now we're tackling the resultant 'to do' list.Not long, mostly small things but we do have one large unexpected expenditure. The rest of the items just take time to do or have to be done by contractors – which requires contacting and scheduling.
We're also doing some cosmetic s like replacing door mats, touchup painting, early spring cleaning, adding new sinks and fixtures in the bathrooms (a project I started but turned over to the more capable hands of a master plumber – I learned why plumbers make $120/hr and why they're worth every penny), and shampooing the carpet.
We had a plumber in a few days ago. An electrician is coming in the morning to do a few things including adding GFCI protection for some of the kitchen electrical outlets. Carpet cleaning company coming on Monday.
Joan keeps the home looking spectacular and she's continuing what she does here. Guests to our home always give her positive comments about how great the house looks. Our realtor was so impressed she thought Joan should teach a class on home upkeep and cleanliness. However, there are a couple of problem areas. My study and the garage are my responsibility and as I'm not always (practically never) tidy this is taking me more than just routine upkeep time. Hoping to have these two areas taken care of very soon.
Got to go. I hear the 'to do' list calling.
March 8, 2011
About a year ago, we began talking about moving from Alaska to the Lower-48 so we could be closer to aging parents. I was thinking a conventional move – house somewhere between our parents and periodic visits. A few month ago Joan mentioned the idea of remaining an Alaskan resident but buying an RV and spending a couple years touring the USA. The idea was to be able to visit parents, family, and friends and to spend time leisurely enjoying America's national treasures - its scenery and its people. My initial reaction was not positive, but the more I thought about it the more excited I got. What a great adventure. And it would be like having a two-year honeymoon. Who wouldn't enjoy that?
The next step was to begin de-stuffing. Our house (three bedrooms, a study and a sewing room) wasn't cluttered but after 16 years it had become full. Joan doesn't have any problems de-stuffing. Her motto is, "If I don't eat it, wear it, or use it in six months – get rid of it." I have more of a pack-rat mentality, "If I don't need it today I might need it someday - so save it." Therefore, at first de-stuffing was painful for me. Then, as I started doing it I had the feeling of being freed from a huge anchor that was weighing me down. It became an exhilarating almost narcotic feeling and I fell in love with de-stuffing. As we move closer to listing our house I continue going through my stuff and continue realizing that there is more and more that I can live without. I estimate during the last year we donated, sold, gave away, or trashed about 3 tons of stuff (most of it was my stuff). And we've agreed on donating to charity about another ton after our house is sold. The anchor is shrinking. Free at last, free at last.
Our plan is to store all but what we need for RVing America. Someday, we'll find a place to settle down and transition from RV living back to a house. When we do, I hope to maintain a minimalistic lifestyle.