White Sands Monument – Worth the Drive

There is some white sand on the floor mats in our car. It is also in the hatchback where the dogs rode after our day walking the trails and climbing the incredible dunes at White Sands Monument. We’re not ready to clean it out yet. It reminds us of the beautiful day we spent there.

The weather was perfect the day we drove from our campsite at Fort Bliss RV Park in El Paso Texas to the White Sands Monument in New Mexico. The monument is about 15 miles southwest of Alamogordo, New Mexico, and about 93 miles from our site.

We left around mid-morning, stopped at Holloman Air Force base for lunch, and arrived at the Visitors’ Center a little before 1:30pm. 2F7A5132The visitor center complex, designed in Pueblo Revival style, is a national historic district in itself. It was built in the 1930’s as a depression era job-creation project. 2F7A5135
The center also features a garden with native plants of the Chihuahuan desert.


After checking out the center, we drove to the entrance station of the Dunes Trail, paid our entrance fees ($5.00 each) and started our drive. A little over 2 miles into the dunes, we stopped at the Dune Life Nature Trail. It is a one mile self-guided loop trail through the dunes that is marked with information on the animal life in the area. This area of the dunes also has abundant plant life. The dogs were ready to stretch their legs and check out all the new smells in the sand.plants-along-white-sands-dune-life-nature-trail






After completing the trail, we resumed the Dunes Drive. Our next stop was the Interdune Boardwalk. The boardwalk is a fully accessible, .4 miles round trip and has an interactive area with great information on the formation of the gypsum dunes.interdune-dune-boardwalk


The dogs weren’t too thrilled with the boardwalk and wanted to get back on the sand.

Shortly after we resumed our drive, the pavement ended and we were driving on the SAND. I double checked the map and that is what it showed. End of Pavement. The white dunes rose up on either side of the road.dune-loop-after-pavement-ends

We soon entered the loop that is marked on the map as the “Heart of the Sands.” We stopped several times to checked out places noted on the map. We drove through the two picnic areas and had to get pictures of the tables.

Picnic area from the road

The picnic tables looked like small sail boats on the sand.

There are several parking areas and rest rooms on the Dune Drive.parking-lot-alomg-dune-loop-white-sands-monument

We continued through the loop, stopping several times to get out, walk up the dunes and just take in the beauty. We also watched people sliding down on sleds. It looked like fun but wasn’t something we had planned to do.white-sands-national-monument




Sliding down the dune.

We saw several different messages written in the sand by other visitors. We added a message of our own.2F7A5293

As sunset approached, we headed to the meeting place for the Sunset Stroll. We did not plan to take the stroll, but wanted to be in a good place to see the sun setting.

We parked in the small cleared area, did some more exploring and waited for the sunset. The dogs were enjoying their time outside as well.2F7A5342

People climbed the dunes and prepared to photograph the sunset.2F7A53312F7A5396


After the sunset, we headed back to El Paso. We had run out of snacks for the dogs and they were getting hungry.

For more information on White Sands Monument, check out their website. White Sands National Monument

For more pictures from our day on the dunes, check out Photography by Andreas

If you liked this post, please click Like and share it with your friends. Dune-loop-Self-portrait-white-sands



Posted in RV living, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Riding a Gondola up The Franklin Mountains

The day we drove to McKelligon Canyon, we found information at the Park Office for the Wyler Aerial Tramway. That’s when we decided to go up the mountain on the tramway to celebrate our anniversary.

On Sunday, November 12th, the day after our 11th anniversary, we drove up the steep, winding entrance to the tramway on the east side of the Franklin Mountains. It was a beautiful, clear day with low winds. It was also warm so we didn’t wear jackets.

The view from the parking lot, at an elevation of 4,692 feet, showed us just how high we had driven. 2F7A4968 parking lot view

The parking lot also has telescopes, benches and a variety of plant life to enjoy.parking lot view

The parking lot for the tramway is also the parking lot for the Directissimo Trail. This .88 mile strenuous trail takes you up and around Ranger Peak. You’re required to register at the Tramway office before starting your hike. The ranger told us that it’s best to walk up the trail and ride back down.

We decided to ride both directions.

We located the ticket booth, purchased our $8.00 round-trip tickets, and got in line for the trip to the top of Ranger Peak. The Swiss-made gondolas are small and only a handful of people can ride at a time. However, the line was not too long and there were two gondolas running, so the wait was fairly short.2F7A4966in line to go up

While in line we watched the gondolas go up and down the mountain. We also watched the 51,000 pound concrete counterweight slowly move up and down as it controled the tension of the moving steel cables.2F7A4971 mechanism

Soon, we were in our gondola and on the way up. The 4 minute ride was very smooth. It was a bit thrilling to watch the ground get farther away as we slowly ascended to the top.on the way up

As we went up, we watched the other gondola heading down.2F7A4977passing gondola going up

A park ranger accompanies passengers in each gondola, answering questions and providing information regarding the tramway and the trails. On the way up we learned that the gondola travels 940 vertical feet up the mountain on a 2,600 feet long, 1 3/8” diameter steel cable.2F7A4979 on the way up 2

Ranger Peak is 5,632 feet above sea level. On reaching the top, we stepped out into a large observation area. There are two levels, with railing all around so visitors can see a 360 degree view of El Paso. Juárez, Mexico and the surrounding area. There are several telescopes for use (for a small fee), benches, rest rooms and a gift shop.

Here is a view from the gondola as we reached the platform at the top. The platform also features 2 massive telecommunications towers.2F7A4981towers at the top

We walked around the main level, trying to identify the landmarks indicated on the maps. As we continued walking, it got a breezier. And cooler. Which explained why some of the other riders had been carrying jackets. We hadn’t thought about the difference in temperature at that altitude.

However, we didn’t let the slightly chilly breeze stop us from climbing the stairs to the top level. Here we could see more of the western view towards New Mexico.

While walking around the platforms, we located the Ft. Bliss RV Park, where we are currently staying. 2F7A4987The blue roofs in the upper right quadrant of the picture are in the RV park.

To be honest, we didn’t really spend a lot of time trying to identify the sites visible on the map we were given with our tickets. We just wanted to enjoy the view.2F7A5013


When we were done enjoying the views from the upper level, we headed down the stairs to check out the gift shop.2F7A4992

There were the expected souvenirs of shirts, hats and shot glasses. What we didn’t expect was the notebook containing many witness accounts, details and pictures regarding the 1953 B-36 crash site. There are still some artifacts along the trail. They can be seen from the B-36 overlook marked on the trail map.

After exploring the gift shop, we got in line for the ride down. While waiting we watched as the gondolas traveled up and down the mountain.2F7A4985

Here we are approaching the entrance on our descent.2F7A5053

After landing safely, we walked around the exhibits of earlier gondolas, took in the view of El Paso from one of the benches and just relaxed.2F7A5054original gondola2F7A50602nd gondola

If you are planning a trip to El Paso, we recommend making the Wyler Aerial Tramway one of your stops. More pictures of the plants and views are posted on our Photography by Andreas FB page.

Click the link below for more information regarding the tramway.20171112_145712   Wyler Aerial Tramway

Photobomb2F7A5004We hope you enjoyed our post and found the information helpful. Please let us know by Liking It.

If you would like to be notified when a new article is posted, just fill in your email address on the side bar to follow us.



Posted in Free things to do, Travel | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Escaping to Rio Bosque Wetlands Park

The Mission Trail brochure we picked up at the Visitor’s Center in downtown El Paso included information about the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park. This 372 acre park is near the El Paso city limits and adjacent to the Mission Trail. Reading that it consisted of trails and restored habitats, riverside woods and native ecosystems, we decided this was exactly the nature escape we needed. We checked out their website regarding times open, specific trails and directions. We were excited to go. The next day, Sunday November 6th, we packed the dogs in the car and headed out.

Getting There

Map to Rio Bosque Park

The Rio Bosque Wetland Park is located south of Loop 375, off Pan American Drive in El Paso, Texas. We recommend following the advice on the website and use the directions provided online. We navigated there using Google Maps, however, it was not the best route. Here is the link to their website: Rio Bosque Wetland Park

Be prepared to drive on a gravel road for the last mile or so.

The Trails

The Visitor Center is a short walk from the parking lot. We picked up brochures for each of the 3 trails, decided on the 1.5 mile Wetland Loop Trail and started our much needed nature trail walk.

A group of hikers heading back in passed us as we headed out. They were the only people we saw on the trails that day. And because of that, we let the dogs go off leash for the majority of the walk. They had not been allowed off leash since we had left home on October 16th. This was a treat for all of us.

The trails have posts with numbers that correspond to an item of interest on the trail map. We followed the trail as much as possible, however, when we saw something interesting in another direction, we took a detour on one of the other trails. Luckily, we had picked up maps for all three trails and we were able to navigate back to the Wetland Loop trail each time.

Plant Life

We saw many of the plants and trees listed in the brochures we picked up at the Visitor’s Center and have tried to identify them as much as possible in our pictures.

We saw quite a few of the Tornillo trees with their distinctive screwbean seed pods.

Tornillo_Screwbean Mesquite.jpg
Tornillo or Screwbeen Mesquite

Willow Baccharis were plentiful and beautiful.

Willow Baccharis full
Willow Baccharis in the fall
Willow Baccharis

Willow Baccharis leaves and flower heads

Close up of the seepwillow that was abundant throughout the trail.


Along the Trail

As we walked along the trail, we saw this windmill in the distance.2F7A4890

This interesting sign was on the way to the wetlands. It appeared to have been there a long time. Behind it you can see the windmill we saw along the trail. 2F7A4884

The trail narrowed as we arrived at the wetlands. We saw a snake on the side of the trail, however, it slithered down towards the water as we walked closer. We were not fast enough to get a picture.


In the background of this picture you can see the Mexican border fence. The Rio Loop Trail, blazed with a yellow dragonfly, is along the other side of the wetlands.2F7A4891

Cattails are very abundant here. We saw many with and without tail inflorescences.2F7A4895

A couple more pictures from the wetlands.2F7A4897


A last picture of the wetlands as we were on our way back to the main trail.2F7A4902

More Sites Along the Trail

We continued along the trail past markers 8 and 9. These areas are a mix of new and mature tornillo trees. We soon came to a water channel, at marker 10.

This is a picture of the metal wheels that control the water flow for the channel.2F7A4941

At this point, we saw another windmill in the distance, as well as the vibrant yellow leaves of the Rio Grande Cottonwoods. Fall colors! We turned off the orange duck trail and followed the yellow dragon fly trail towards the windmill for a closer look.

Max and Sadie walking past a beautiful Rio Grande Cottonwood

This is a working windmill and we watched the pump pole go up and down as the wind wheel turned.2F7A4930

20171105_worn out Sadie

Sadie taking a quick rest as Andy took pictures.2F7A4914




Max is still resting, but Sadie is ready to go! By the time we got back to the car, Max’s paws were white again.

After taking some pictures and looking around the windmill, we turned and walked back to the orange trail.

The rest of the trail followed a water channel. According to the trail guide, the channel is an old bend of the Rio Grande that was cuff off when the river was straightened to its current location in the 1930’s. It was a very scenic part of the trail and we took our time as we headed back towards trailhead at the Visitor’s Center.2F7A4942


2F7A4951When we got to the parking lot, the dogs were ready to get in the car and rest. They were exhausted and happy. We were refreshed and talked about taking the longer Rio Loop trail next time.

Posted in Free things to do, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Exploring Downtown El Paso

The first Saturday in November was a bit overcast and misty. We decided to drive to downtown El Paso and check out some of the sites. We really didn’t have a plan. We went online, saw parking available at Union Plaza and navigated there.

Union Plaza ParkAn artists and farmer’s market is held there on Saturday mornings from 9 to 1. Which would have been fun, except it was closing up as we got there. We paid for parking and started walking.

It wasn’t very crowded and we wondered if the misty weather was keeping people indoors. As we walked up San Antonio Ave., we saw the Railroad Transportation Museum. As we got closer, we saw that the Visitor’s Center was in the lobby. Perfect!

Train Engine

We went in and were assisted by a very friendly young woman who gave us a map of downtown and showed us a few places to check out. She also let us know that the Museum of History and the Museum of Art have free admittance. We picked up a brochure for the Mission Trail while we were there because it looked like a great day trip for us. After looking around a bit, we thanked her and went on our way.Union Plaza walkway

As we continued east along San Antonio Ave, we passed from the Union Plaza section of downtown into the arts district, Las Plazas. We walked up the stairs of the Judson Williams Convention Center and into the Convention Plaza.convention plaza

That is when we discovered the annual Christmas Fair was in progress.

People were going in and out of the center. We stepped inside to take a peek. It looked like a fun time  for a worthy cause. However, we were not prepared to shop, so we continued on our walk.Christmas fair

Around the corner, we found wonderful murals, some sculptures and great architecture.Andy and mural

close up mura

Mural end

whole mural




2F7A4814Leaving the convention plaza, we walked up Santa Fe St. to Cleveland Square Park, where a dog costume contest was wrapping up.

That is when we saw the 3D digital wall at the El Paso Museum of History. We had fun playing with it for a while and made a digital postcard that we shared with some family and friends.


From there, we took the walkway between the park and the Library. Along the way there were colorful flower beds and trees with green bark. Since we had not seen a tree with green back before, we did a quick search and discovered they are Palo Verde, or Desert Museum trees.Walkway to LibraryFlower bedsPalm Verda

Andy took a few more pictures of sculptures here.Library walkway

Missouri and El Paso


We soon found ourselves on the corner of El Paso and Missouri. Being from Missouri, we had to take a picture.

We walked west on Missouri towards Calvary Man Park. In addition to the statue, there is a gazebo with interesting solar panels for the roof.Solar panels

The park is on the corner of Missouri Ave and Santa Fe. Across the street is the El Paso Scottish Rite Temple.Scottish Rite Temple

We continued down Missouri along the north side of Southwest University Park, home of the Chihuahuas, El Paso’s Triple A baseball team. At the corner of Missouri and Durango, we saw some interesting apartment buildings.Apartment bldg

We turned southwest and took Durango along the west side of the park.Southwest Univ ParkAt the Durango entrance to the ballpark, the sidewalk becomes a wide pedestrian walkway, where you can rent a bike or just enjoy the mural as you stroll down the hill towards San Antonio Ave.Bikes for rent

Mural on street

As we neared the parking lot, we saw the Rocketbuster building, home of handmade custom boots. Unfortunately they were closed so we didn’t get to see any of the colorful boots.RocketbusterWe wanted to explore further into the Union Plaza and Las Plazas districts, but our time on the parking meter was ending and our dogs were waiting for us back at the RV. We plan to go downtown again while we are in El Paso and see the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit at the Museum of Art.

We arrived back at the RV park in time to enjoy hamburgers and hot dogs at the annual Chili Cook off. We also enjoyed samples of the contestants chili and visited with our neighbors. It was a great way to end the afternoon.

Posted in RV living, Travel, traveling nurse | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Settling in at Ft. Bliss RV Park and Exploring El Paso

Our time here in El Paso has gone by so quickly. I was surprised to see it has been 12 days.

The Saturday morning after we arrived, we tried to get our post office box. Since we will be here for at least 3 months, we held our mail at home and will have it temporarily forwarded to the PO Box. We had applied online for a box and understood we needed to bring the paperwork and identification to the branch to get access. They were not able to find us in the system, even though our paperwork was printed from their site. The person that handles the boxes was not there and we were told to come back on Monday when he would be in.

On Monday morning we showed up at the branch again and worked with a different postal clerk. He was also not able to pull up our information for the box we reserved. He suggested that we cancel that box and apply in person for a box at the branch. He also let us know there was a branch closer to where we are staying, if we would rather have a box there.

We went to the other branch and rented our PO Box. We also completed the forward request for our mail. We were told to cancel the other box online. (That is another story as it took several emails to get that done. Refund still pending.) That errand done, we decided to do some exploring on base. Ft. Bliss Army Base has its headquarters in El Paso and we wanted to explore the PX and commissary. We were pleasantly surprised when we found them.

Ft. Bliss is home to Freedom Crossing, the first-ever open air shopping, dining and entertainment marketplace to be located on a U.S. Military Installation. Freedom Crossing is a great place to shop, eat or just walk around. We ate lunch, walked around and explored the PX and other shops. We will be checking out the commissary on another trip.

Tuesday was Andy’s first day at work. I did the laundry – exciting stuff, right? The laundry facilities at the RV Park are very nice and reasonable. I was able to pick up the free Wi-Fi while there and pull photos from my phone to Google Photo. They also have a Family Room here at the park where there is free Wi-Fi, cable TV and kitchen facilities. There are currently 3 tiny houses staying here at the park. First time we have seen them in an RV park. Overall, this is a great place to stay. The only drawback is the highway noise. However, we are towards the back and it is not as loud as it is for other sites.

The designated dog area is at the front of the park. Several time a day, the dogs are walked up there to do their business. You can view the Franklin Mountains while the dogs sniff every blade of grass.

dog park view

We are getting used to the weather and really like it. The days are warm and the nights are cool. There have been a few hotter days, with temperatures in the high 80’s, but overall it has been in the 70’s and low 80’s. We have used the air conditioner only a couple times. The air is dry with low humidity. In the last 12 days, it has rained only once.

Cold Sadie

It was a little cooler Friday afternoon and Sadie was shivering

Saturday was a little cooler and perfect weather to do more exploring. We drove to McKelligon Canyon in the Franklin Mountains. It is about 5 miles from the RV Park. We did a little walking up the Ron Coleman Trail, but were not prepared to take the full trail. We went just far enough to get a few photos.


We only walked up a bit from the parking lot.


Another view from the trail

After we left the canyon, we drove the short distance to Scenic Drive and took it up to the Scenic Overlook. It is a great view of El Paso, the Rio Grande, Juarez and the mountains.


Looking out from the overlook.

Scenic overlook marker

Overlook plague

You can see a few more photos on our Photos by Andreas Facebook page.

After leaving the overlook, we had a quick lunch at a Whataburger and went back to the park. We needed to get our Halloween decorations set up for the evening festivities.

We were told by one of the our neighbors that they were having Trick or Treat on Saturday night instead of the 31st. Sounded good to us!

We set up our canopy, strung lights around it and put our scary Halloween music in the CD player. And dumped bags of candy into a large bowl.



A few pictures of our decorations.

We had quite a few of the families living in the park stop by. It was a lot of fun to see the costumes and really made us feel at home. Halloween has been one of our favorite times and we missed the trick or treaters last year. It was the first Halloween at our new house and we were prepared with candy. Other than our grandkids, no one came by. In our previous home, we had close to a hundred each year.

We are settling in and learning our way around El Paso. The people are friendly and the weather is definitely something we could get used to. Until it gets too hot.

after the rain

View from dog park after the rain

Sadie in coat

Sadie was prepared for another shower

Posted in Pets, RV living, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

On the Road to El Paso


We left our home in Kansas City on Tuesday, October 17th at 10:30 am and arrived in El Paso Texas around 1:00 pm on Friday, October 20th. It had been a long 4 days. This was the longest trip we had ever taken in our RV.

Our first overnight stop was Guthrie, Oklahoma. This was our longest leg of the trip, 345 miles. Along the route, we drove through the Flint Hills in Kansas. They are scenic and offered a nice diversion to the otherwise flat farm land.

Peggy's view

Peggy’s view following Andy

We arrived at the Cedar Valley RV Park in Guthrie around 5:30 pm and were happy to see that we were placed in the #1 spot. Since we would be there only one night, it made for an easy in and out. The campground was nice and very clean. The attendant was friendly and helpful. They have overnight, weekly and monthly spots. We would stay there again if we pass through that way.

At check-in we learned that Guthrie is home to the largest contiguous historic district on the National Register of historic places and the smallest national park in the United States. The Guthrie National Park consists of one tree and is located on 2nd street, by the post office. It sounded like an interesting place to take an evening stroll. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit the park or the historic district.

While setting up, we discovered that the bolts attaching one of the awning arms to the side of our Solitude had pulled away. The rest of the evening was spent on a quick run for bolts and making the repair.

Yes, we know what happened. On the way to Guthrie, the pressure warning for the tires on the truck came on and Andy pulled over. Unfortunately, a mile marker along the shoulder got in the way and smacked the side of the Solitude, hitting the awning arm. I saw it happen, but didn’t see any damage at the time. The awning has since been successfully opened and has not pulled away from the side. Repair success!

We left Guthrie around 9:30 Wednesday morning and drove to Stamford, Texas, our first Texas overnight stop. This was a 284 mile drive. Along the way, the scenery changed from fields with crops to fields with windmills. This was the most windmills we had ever seen in one place. In addition to the windmills, we started seeing the pump jacks for the oil wells. And cotton fields. There were fields with rows of white cotton, interspersed with pump jacks and backed up with rows of windmills. The scenery definitely made the long drive a bit more interesting.

The pump jack below was taken at Monahans Sandhills State Park. It was a bit difficult to get a picture of one from the road. This particular pump jack had been there since 1957.

We arrived at the Davis RV Park in Stamford around 4:30 pm and got set up for the night. The park attendant was helpful and friendly. The park itself had seen better days and was in need of some repair. However, for an overnight stay with full hook-ups, it was okay. The neighbor’s unattended dog barked for hours and we sure felt sorry for it.

After we got settled, we decided to take a drive around town and get a bite to eat. If you are not familiar with Stamford, it is a small town about 40 miles north of Abilene, population about 2,900. While driving what appeared to be the downtown area, we saw an interesting abandoned building that Andy saw as a great photo opportunity.

Stamford Inn 1

Old Stamford Inn Stamford, TX

Stamford Inn 2

Old Stamford Inn Stamford, TX

After our little drive was complete, we stopped at the Subway closest to the RV park and had a quick dinner. While talking with the clerk, we learned that the building had once been a luxury hotel and Elvis Presley had stayed there. Of course, we checked it out. Historic Stamford Inn

The Stamford Inn was built in 1900. Over the years it changed from a luxury resort to a nursing home and in the late 70’s, a gentleman’s club. However, we couldn’t find any information about Elvis staying there. Local legend or well-kept secret?

The inn is in such disrepair that it is considered dangerous and not safe to enter. It was a struggle for Andy to only take pictures from the outside. However, there was another photo opportunity for Andy back at the RV park. When we checked in, we noticed a weathered, abandoned house on the edge of the park. Andy took some evening and early morning shots of the house. Below is a sampling. You can see more on our Photography by Andreas Facebook page.

Davis RV 1

Davis RV 2

Davis RV 3

Early Thursday morning we headed for our next stop, Monahans Sandhills State Park. We planned to get there before the 2:00 because we didn’t have reservations and wanted to be sure to get a spot. The drive was more windmills, cotton fields and pump jacks. Since this was our third day on the road, the dogs were getting used to the new routine. They were really liking all the extra walks.

Stopping for gas

Andy washing some bugs off our front window during one of our many stops for gas.

We arrived at the park right before 2:00 pm. The check in was smooth and we got a great spot. All the spots are on the asphalt and the grills and tables are in the sand. We declined the offer to rent sleds to ride down the dunes, however, we spent quite a bit of time walking up and down them with the dogs. They really enjoyed it. We were also very happy that it was a clear night and the park had minimal street lights. We were able to see more stars than we had been able to see in several years.

Sandhills set up

Our set up at Monahans Sandhills State Park

After a good sleep, we were up early for a morning walk on the dunes to watch the sunrise. As much as we wanted to linger, we also needed to get on the road to El Paso.

sand dunes 2

Monahans Sandhills State Park


sand dunes 1

Monahans Sandhills State Park

sand dunes 3

Monahans Sandhills State Park

Driving from Monahans to El Paso on Friday morning, we both watched the altitude numbers on our GPS climb as we ascended higher into the hills. We were surprised to see that the speed limit was 80 mph. We would not drive that fast pulling our rig and just enjoyed the mountainous scenery as we arrived closer to our destination.

We had reservations at an RV park in El Paso, however, they did not require that we make a deposit. That worked out well because they were our back up park. We wanted to stay at Ft. Bliss RV Park, however they do not take reservations. Andy had called Ft. Bliss RV Park earlier in the week and was told that there were no spots available. He was told to call back after 1:00 on the day we planned to arrive. He called them Friday around 1:30 pm, as we got closer to El Paso. There were 2 spots open.

We arrived at little before 3:00 pm El Paso time. We had gotten an hour back when we crossed into Mountain Time. The spots were still available and we were assigned the one farther from the highway. I immediately contacted the park with our reservation and let them know we did not need a spot at this time.

We set up our site and collapsed!Site 57 Ft. Bliss

Posted in Changing landscape, RV living, traveling nurse, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Only Constant is Change

I didn’t realize how much I still thought like a business analyst until I heard myself tell a friend that the bathroom was functional and the work that was needed was nice to have and cosmetic.

I spent the majority of my last 20 years working on projects. Prioritizing, defining and testing. Even though I retired last December and are no longer involved in IT related projects, Andy and I have been immersed in home improvement and maintenance projects for the last 18 months. We had to identify what projects we needed to work and which ones we wanted to work. We had to define how we wanted the kitchen, garage, fence, bedrooms and other areas to look. We had to determine the costs and figure the budget.

I started a project plan for the house while I was still working and tweaked it as we went. Beginning this January, I added our blog into the mix. Since the first of the year, we have gotten a lot done. In September, we were ready for our Phase 2 projects.

These were the changes we wanted to make that were lower on our priority list. They were also the small finishing tasks from another project. For example, the kitchen was finished in early August 2016. We waited to paint the trim around the window until the new windows were installed. Well, the windows were installed in mid-August and the trim is still not painted. It has been filled, sanded and primed, but not finished. It is a Day 2 item. Not high enough on the radar to finish.

As we were readying ourselves to get some of these items completed, our plans changed.

Andy has not been the happiest camper in his job for the last couple years. He thought he could stick it out for another 2 years and retire at age 62. At that time, we anticipated we would take off in our RV for several months at a time and travel the country. We also planned to have the house paid off when he left work.

Andy turned 60 in September and said good-bye to the VA hospital. Earlier this month he accepted a position with a traveling nurse agency. We will be leaving our home next week and hitting the road for his first assignment. This will allow us to travel earlier that we anticipated and still have the needed income.

If he had continued to work at the VA, my plan this fall was to start looking for a full-time job in the Kansas City area. I had wanted to take this year off. And I did, with the exception of the part-time job I had over the summer. I will have to come up with a new plan for me. 🙂

The last several weeks we have been getting the house ready for our departure. We had several projects that had to be done first and those are now completed. We have just a few things left to do around the house. Sully, our name for our Grand Design Solitude, has been undergoing a few changes as we get ready to leave. In addition to the desk installed in our post RV Renovation – Slide Out Desk, we are making it ready to live in by removing the ‘weekend at the lake’ items and replacing them with stuff we will use on a daily basis.

The blog content will tell of our travels, RV modifications and tips. We are looking forward to this new chapter in our lives and hope that you will join us as we live life on the road.

Posted in Decision making, home, RV living, traveling nurse | Tagged , , | Leave a comment