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March 26, 2005

Chapter One - "The End of the Beginning"

It all began in the fall of 2000, when I said to my wife "When we retire, if we had a camper for traveling, we could stay longer and save money. Let's go to an RV show and look at camper trailers". In her steeliest voice, with the look to match, Bernice replied "I don't want to camp".

And so it began; we went to the Toronto Year-End RV Show to see what was available. The first exhibitor was Coleman Camper Trailers and after just a few minutes, even I agreed that at our age (which would be about 65, plus or minus a bit), a camper wasn't the way to go. A roof to push up, beds to pull out and supports to put in, a kitchen to organize, no bathroom, either. It had been fun when our kids were young and we had camped on summer holidays like thousands of other families … but not for senior citizens, in the rain.

We both agreed that night that an RV would be a good idea for extended travel and so for the next 2 years we went to many RV shows and RV dealers' open houses. Gradually we focused on 5th wheel trailers. For those of you who haven't heard all this before, a 5th wheel trailer is like a transport on the highway - in the back of the truck is a hitch which connects to a pin under the front of the trailer, which is cut out to allow the truck to back in and lock to it.

In July 2003, we purchased a 32 foot model made by Jayco in Indiana, where over 50% of all RVs are built. That September we drove (by car, we hadn't bought a truck yet) to Pennsylvania for a course called "Life on Wheels" and in spring 2004 we took a 6 day, hands-on "Safe RVing" course with 15 other 'newbie' (beginner) couples who also had more or less no idea what they were doing. After that I, Ross the Instigator, suggested that maybe we should sell our house and go on the road full-time. See it's always the husband's fault; right ladies??? RIGHT!!!

This past summer our trailer was at Cedar Valley Park, north-east of Bowmanville and we went regularly on week-ends to learn. Bernie had never cooked on a gas stove, how long does 70 gallons of water last, where do you put your stuff … well you get the idea.

Bernice retired as General Manager (one of us had to have a real job) from O'Shanter Development Company at the end of September at a wonderful, heartwarming, and quite emotional, dinner for her. We sold our house in October and the deal was completed January 18th this year, (now the White's are homeless).

The store finally sold and the deal closed February 14th. Margaret Corbett and her husband Michael are excellent and are very busy learning how to avoid all the things I did wrong over the last ten and a half years. Margaret has an allied business, Target Imaging, which produces large format graphics such as over-the-street banners, big posters and signs, etc. and I feel very confident that they will build on the quality of service the store provided. I finished on March 11th and we are now both unemployed as well as homeless (we were 'housesitting' in Leaside for January, February and March for a couple who go to BC each winter to ski).

We will weigh anchor around Easter weekend for a 'shakedown cruise' of 3 or 4 weeks to make sure everything is okay and that we have the right combination of necessities and personal items. Our new home is about 290 square feet and amazingly everything we need, or want, to take with us fits with room to spare.

About mid-May we will embark on our first major journey - to the west coast including an RV rally in Oregon and a one week cruise to Alaska with Barnaby's family. Again for those of you who aren't familiar with our family details, Barnaby is married to our younger daughter Michelle and they have designed this website you're now reading. Thanks to you both. It's wonderful to have built-in technical support for computing, website design, photographic consulting and communication products. Although they haven't said so, we think they'll be glad when we leave town and stop calling (bugging) them for help.

The idea of this website - - is to provide a mile by mile (not really every mile … only the interesting or special ones) travelogue of our adventures, along with a photo album you can review; we hope we can keep it interesting and fun to read.

So ends the beginning. Four and a half years of research, talking, training, more talking, reading, planning and still more talking about an adventure on a road to somewhere, to see something and meet someone, for sometime to come and we'll do it, somehow. We hope you'll enjoy it as much as we will enjoy 'keeping you in the loop'.

(ta, ta for now)

SGH - Sir Grumpy Head (Ross)
CW - Crazy Woman (Bernie)

Posted by Ross at 04:07 PM | Comments (9)