Countdown to Launching!

Filling up the storage unit!

We’re quickly approaching the final days to launching full-time in our trailer, Tranquility, and truck, Bessie. Our time, energy, and attention have been devoted to many tasks these last weeks. We’ve not shared a post on 12mph recently as we need to remain focused to complete our downsizing while at the same time preparing to live in our trailer full-time. Once we gave our notice to the landlord four weeks ago, it placed a stake in the ground and claimed a date on the calendar!

We have experienced a fair amount of success with Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Next Door to advertise household items for sale. Plus several family members and friends have acquired some of our treasures. What doesn’t sell by the middle of next week will be donated. If we had a time lapse video running, you’d see the household shrinking! It’s pretty remarkable. We will definitely post more details in retrospect once we have added time.

A few weeks ago we rented a 10’ X 10’ climate-controlled storage unit. It’s the same place we used several years ago and find it clean, easily accessed by elevator with dollies that they provide, secure with the manager living on site, and away from the worst of the traffic, making it fairly easy for schlepping a number of loads.

A reminder to everyone that we have moved to a virtual, traveling mailbox. Thus, we’re unable to receive actual mail. We’ve gone paperless, which will also save some trees! You may email us at speedofsanity@gmail.com.

Our launch day is Sunday, July 29. We will begin our adventures by heading east into the heat and humidity of the great Midwest. May our air conditioner work faithfully for us!

As we get into a rhythm, we will share posts with you more often. If you’d like to follow our journey closer, with almost daily posts, you may find us on Instagram as speedofsanity.

Woo-hoo! We’re ready to enjoy “Life at the Speed of Sanity!”

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Thanks for your support and encouragement!

 

We have names!

After careful consideration and having a bit of time with our truck and trailer, we have given them names!

Bessie
Our 2011 Ford F-250 pickup is now known as Bessie. She is named after Diane’s Great-grandma Bessie May McClester Vale. Bessie was of Irish descent (McLaughlin and McClester). In the family archives, Diane’s Mom Betty wrote some biographical information on Bessie and Great-grandpa John Vale, Sr. The story goes that “John was traveling down the road in the farm area near Clinton, Pennsylvania when he was forced to take the side of the road to escape collision with a team of spirited horses being driven by what appeared to be an equally spirited young woman with red hair.” Later in the story, “If John was feeling adventurous, they would hitch up Bessie’s matched team and enjoy an invigorating and exciting race across the countryside with Bessie at the reins.” They married in 1899! Bessie also served as the business manager for John, who was a portrait artist. She would frequently tuck a hand-tooled leather portfolio beneath her arm and meet with potential clients (including Andrew Carnegie) to arrange for John’s next commissioned work.

Bessie May McClester Vale & John Webster Vale Sr – 50th Anniversary, 1949

Our truck’s “personality” is such that it is spirited with the turbo diesel engine. There are times when we’re on a rough road that she gives us an invigorating ride across the miles. Recently we took her on a 4-wheel drive adventure with Diane behind the reins on a forest service road in Pike National Forest. Bessie gave us an exciting trip up, over, down, and seemingly all around. She took to the trailer easily and pulls it up mountain passes and over boondocking terrain with very little effort. Since we purchased the truck on March 8, 2018, International Women’s Day, it seems fitting to honor Diane’s Great-grandma Bessie.

Tranquility
Our 2018 Northwood Nash 26N is now known as Tranquility. On July 20, 1969, the first lunar landing took place on the Sea of Tranquility on our beautiful Moon where the first human footprints were made by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. We both recall this spectacular event as we nestled around living room TVs in our childhood homes with our parents and siblings. While visiting the Great Sand Dunes National Park on September 21, 2012,  we patiently waited as the park ranger set up a powerful telescope one evening and pointed the scope at the moon, focusing on the Sea of Tranquility. It was a quiet night except for the gasps and comments of those peeking through the telescope.

Superimposed Super Moon over Great Sand Dunes by DianeFeltPhotography.com

We anticipate many incredible adventures led by Bessie pulling Tranquility. Earlier this week, they took us to a very tranquil location where we set-up camp without any hookups (it’s called dry camping or boondocking). The view was stunning during the day with the snow-capped mountains in the distance, at twilight with gorgeous sunsets, and in the dark of night with the star-studded sky.

Spirited and tranquil all in one package. Happy Trails lie ahead! We anticipate launching to full-time RVing status by the end of July.

 

Reality Check!

 

Okay, here’s a dose of our Reality Check! Guess what? Sometimes the pace catches up with us. Not everything may appear as it does from the outside looking in at us. Warm and fuzzy times meet cold and prickly moments! The reality is that sometimes not everything is a bed of roses, but thorny cacti!

Yellow Rose
Young Barrel Cacti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


As we’ve read in blog posts or Facebook posts of other folks who are full-time RVing, there are details galore to which to tend, that frankly sometimes just knock us to our knees. One couple wrote that downsizing drastically into a small storage unit and their trailer made them feel a sense of grief similar to what one feels when going through a family member’s estate after they’ve passed away. Definitely, grief has hit several times throughout our own process. We are also not setting aside time to enjoy just a few hikes or walks and have not bicycled at all. Yes, we’ve been a bit prickly and crabby with each other at times, despite loving and adoring each other overall.

There has been a large chasm between our last post and this one. A great deal of this hole is due to our somewhat “breakneck” pace that we’re keeping.

On the Go

We’ve made four major trips since March 23. Fortunately, having purchased our used 2011 Ford F-250 pickup a couple of weeks prior to the road trips, kicked us into our trailer-search mode.  All four of these trips have been absolutely fantastic as they included time with family and friends.

Trip #1: UT, ID, WA, MT, WY, CO (March 26-April 10)
Drove to Washington State to spend a week with our son and daughter-in-love. The drive through parts of UT and ID were beautiful. Prior to the trip, we researched Northwood Manufacturing and Lance trailer brands in the above listed states in case we could find one. Bingo! We found our 2018 Nash 26N in Helena, MT. Placed our downpayment and made an appointment three weeks out to return for it. Drove to Bozeman, MT for several days with family and friends. Then home to Colorado. Total: 2,600 miles

Trip #2: UT, ID, WA, MT, WY, CO (April 21-May 1)
In the nick of time, we had our custom SnugTop truck bed topper that we purchased at A&A Topper Sales in Littleton, CO installed the day before we left on this trip. Loaded yard and gardening tools, planters, a table, and four bar stools into truck bed. Also had numerous items for the trailer. We drove to Washington and delivered items to our son and daughter-in-love. We spent only two days before heading to D&D RV Center in Helena, MT to meet with a wonderful  RV technician over several hours to learn the ropes of our new Nash. We drove away in our new home! Our maiden voyage began with our first night at the KOA in Townsend, MT. Then onto the Sunrise Campground, Bozeman, MT for two nights. This gave us a little time to get acquainted with the trailer and to visit family. From there we had one night at the KOA in Buffalo, WY and one at the KOA in Cheyenne, WY before returning to Denver. We pulled our trailer into its space in outdoor RV storage. Total: 2,600 miles

Trip #3: VA (May 11-15)
Came to our senses and booked flights rather than driving. Flew from Denver to Richmond, VA via Atlanta, GA. We attended the college graduation of our niece from University of Richmond. It was great to celebrate her achievements plus spend time with family while in Richmond and Charlottesville.

Trip #4: NE, IA (May 23-27)
Dro
ve across Nebraska and as far as Davenport, IA on this trip. Made stops across Iowa to donate my great-grandfather’s book that Diane co-edited and self-published. Several public libraries and the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City now have copies to enjoy. Spent overnights and had enjoyable visits with family. Attended the high school graduation celebration of our other niece. Diane donated her wedding dress and three vintage dresses of her Mom’s to Diane’s high school alma mater’s drama department to be used as future costumes. Drove 775 miles and 14 hours in one day to get back to Denver. Fortunately, we made this trip sans trailer. Total: 1,700 miles.

The Checklist

The list is getting shorter, although some of what’s left is the most difficult, requiring more of an emotional process of sorting and letting go of household items that have been a part of our home for up to 42 years! This is some of what we’re accomplishing together or dividing and conquering.

  • Downsizing: gleaning treasures, cataloguing items that we’re keeping, packing for storage, donating or re-homing.
  • Calendar: appointments for truck maintenance, lawn sprinkler system repair., meetings, gatherings
  • Scanning: dozens of critical documents have been scanned, moving to the Cloud
  • Going Paperless: contacting various accounts to stop receiving mail.
  • Planning ahead: making reservations for 30 nights of stays in August and/or September, contacting family and friends to visit upon launching our journey.
  • Rearranging rooms: taping off a 10’ X 10’ section of the office to simulate what the storage unit size will be. Moving items for storage to that section. Moving items to sell to the living room. Items to scan to 2nd bedroom. We live in disarray!
  • Equipping the trailer (after discerning what in household can be repurposed): shelf/cupboard liners, linens, tubs, baskets, dishes, utensils, clothes, outdoor rug, heavy duty chocks, tools
  • Sending Mass Mailing/Email: notified family and friends of our plans and our shift to Traveling Mailbox and preferences of texts, calls, social media to remain in touch
  • Preparing to close business: Diane to close her Heartfelt Legacies business tomorrow!

A Deep Breath at 42!

We blew the whistle and claimed our 42nd anniversary yesterday to be a day off. Instead we selected a brand new trail from our brand new Colorado Benchmark Atlas. It was great to hike to a place we’ve never hiked, to drive rugged Forest Service road to get there, and to soak up amazing view from Devil’s Head Lookout Tower along the Rampart Range.