Our Version of “Where’s Waldo?”

Perhaps this could be coined as our version of “Where’s Waldo?”

(But first, do you remember the “Where’s Waldo” books that originated in 1989. This would help create the context of our return to 12mph.com)

It’s “been a minute” since our last 12mph.com post. [No kidding! How about 17 months plus?!] The new header image on 12mph.com may provide everyone a clue as to where we live. Stay tuned as we reinvent our posting strategy!

Beautiful Independence Monument in Colorado National Monument, Colorado.

For your reading enjoyment, here’s some information to accompany the photo:

First of all, this post falls on July 4, 2023, which is Independence Day in the United States.

Independence Monument stands prominently in Colorado National Monument. Obtaining this view one makes a short hike along the canyon rim near the Visitor Center in Colorado National Monument.

Independence Monument is 450 feet in height and consists of sandstone. John Otto arrived in the Grand Valley area in 1906. Living alone in the canyons, he carved and hand-picked trails. He first climbed Independence Monument on June 14, 1911, which was Flag Day. With a flag presented to him by President William Howard Taft, John flew the flag from the summit of Independence Monument that day. Each Independence Day, he would climb it to raise the flag. In the years since his death, this is an annual tradition. While we don’t have the exact history of everyone who has made the Independence Day ascent, we have read that over the past 23 years, the Mesa County Search and Rescue Team makes this climb and raises the flag.

While John Otto is considered the founder of Colorado National Monument, we are ever mindful of the beautiful history that spans millennia and our Native Peoples who made this area their home. The beauty is stunning! 

“Living Life at the Speed of Sanity” or so we think!

Diane & Steve

Record Snow…A Water Leak…A 2022 Move and Relocation

I wonder, did the title of this post catch your eye, especially if you have followed our posts over time? Bear with me as I share the fairly current details as part of our ongoing journal at 12mph.

Snowfalls over roughly four weeks in December and early January accumulated 25 inches of snow here in Pullman. From what we’ve read, it’s not typical. Ultimately, the area had a record amount of snow for December. We really don’t mind snow IF we can get out to play in it. We had some snow walks in our neighborhood until the plows covered the sidewalks.  At times with warmer temperatures snow thawed to slush and then froze. The footing became unsafe. Fortunately, the City Parks & Rec department tended as best they could to the paved trails throughout town. We settled into a pattern of driving to the City Playfields where we parked and then walked. Early on, we used our Ice Trax strapped to our boots for traction through the shaded and icy spots.

As of today, January 28, the bulk of the snow and ice in our complex has melted from the primary drive and driveways. The large piles of snow that accumulated as part of the plowing efforts are slower to diminish. And, my trusty Sorel snow boots that I’ve had for 15 years split apart. I guess it’s time for warmer weather! The downside is that we didn’t get out to snowshoe because I have a Frozen Shoulder. Hopefully next year once the shoulder is resolved and new snow boots are ready to go, we will resume snowshoeing fun.

Walking on the Bill Chipman Palouse Trail, Pullman, WA.
For accumulated snowfalls, we ended up with nearly 25 inches in four weeks.
Despite having a snow removal service, Steve still needed to shovel our driveway.
The Palouse Hills as we drove the 10 miles between Pullman, WA and Moscow, ID.

A Leak
If you followed our bizarre experience at our first abode in Pullman, one might ask, “Say it isn’t so?” Indeed it is. This is our second home in Pullman in less than two years and yes, we have a water-related issue, yet again. Maybe we should play the lottery with these odds! Fortunately, the water issue has nothing to do with the structure of the townhouse nor the drainage. Unlike our first Pullman home, there isn’t mold or mildew. While it took nine days for the maintenance company and property management company to really roll up their sleeves on this current issue, it’s on the way to being remedied, thankfully! 

It began on January 15, when I noted a dark spot on the side and bottom of an archive box. Adjacent to the box was an IKEA bookcase purchased last summer, which I saw some of the vinyl paper curled away from the bookcase. My heart leapt into my throat as I frantically took the archive box upstairs to investigate the damage. Because I didn’t want to keep this box with its one-of-a-kind treasures in the garage with the bulk of the archives, I opted to move it to the office/lower bedroom a month ago, thinking it would stay dry and safe. I placed it on the floor next to my genealogy research library held on the bookcase. (Side note: the garage remains roughly 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 45-55% since it’s beneath the upper floor of the home. The door to the utility room where the furnace is located, stands ajar so that residual heat helps warm the garage).

Archival Box that held genealogy and family history information. This box soaked up the moisture from the carpet and carpet pad beneath it.
The new IKEA bookcase soaked up water too.

Tears flowed when I pulled out the contents of the box only to find historical genealogy for our family feeling damp or noticeably rippled. The oldest of the history dates back to 1785! Years ago I removed the genealogy pages from several old family Bibles. The Bibles having seen better days were actually unhealthy due to the centuries and decades introducing mildew. Steve and I immediately laid out the papers across the dining room floor, turned on our small space heater, and prayed with all of my heart that this precious family history wasn’t damaged. Thankfully, I discovered evidence of water soaking into the carpet just in time. Had it gone unchecked, this could have really been disastrous.

Thank you space heater!
Carmitchel family history dries out.
Community history and family history, including the Patrick’s dated 1785.
Some of my Dad’s military papers and history that needed to have moisture removed.

On January 26, the maintenance company discovered the source of the leak. Moisture that had collected in the furnace, didn’t properly drain through the small PVC pipe that runs from the furnace to the floor drain. Instead, it was dripping onto the floor beneath the furnace. Then the water continued beneath the furnace and then along the floor towards the back of the furnace where the utility room and bedroom have a shared wall. The water slowly seeped beneath this wall. Consequently, once into the bedroom, the carpet pad and carpet served as giant sponges. With the issue remedied on the furnace, their next step was ridding the carpet of the moisture. They pulled back the carpet, removed the affected portion of the carpet pad, and placed an industrial fan, along with our fans, to dry out the carpet, floor, and base of the wall. Yesterday they came to check on the drying progress and to spray mold retardant on the dried carpet, base of the wall, and carpet tacking strips. We anticipate that sometime next week, they will finish the work and we can resume using the room.

The leak came from the utility room,
The rust spot beneath the condenser and pvc pipe indicate moisture having been dripping over time.
It was sogging to the touch!
The affected carpet was peeled back, the soaked carpet pad removed.
Drying out the carpet, baseboard, and floor.
Mold Retardant was sprayed on the carpet tack strips.

A 2022 Move and Relocation
Yes, you read that correctly. On January 16 (the day before the leak was discovered), we sat in our comfy recliners, talking about the year ahead and mentioning how nice it is to be in a place that was turn-key with no outside maintenance so we could head off to camp and make some trips this year. Last year’s moves interfered with lengthier trips to see family and friends. We also reflected at how nice it is to be near our Pullman family, the paved trail system, good medical providers, public library, etc. “Isn’t it nice that we don’t have to move this year?” we concluded with big sighs of relief. 

Hahaha! On January 18, just two days later, we received a Lease Non-Renewal letter. The odd timing of this at first led us to think that perhaps the letter was due to the water leak because the notice came mere hours after we reported the leak. In a call with the property management company the next day, Steve learned it was because the owners of the townhouse will be selling it. Well, that felt like a very swift kick in the britches for us.  (Needless to say, with the water issue resolved, this home will sell quickly once it goes on the market).

Now what? Well, something that we’ve attempted to be these last few years is FLEXIBLE. Our nearly two years of full-time RVing brought many lessons in flexibility! As we typically do, we’ve spent several days first to get over the shock of this news and then consider what this means. First, we are grateful to have options. While this is a major inconvenience, we can manage another move. It’s old hat by now! LOL! Secondly, we have determined that instead of moving to yet another place in Pullman, it’s time to relocate elsewhere. Pullman has a tight rental market, especially with Washington State University being a major part of the community. Our family here will be missed immensely, yet we know that being retired, we can travel several times each year to Washington to see them and hope that their travels will bring them to our next location. Perhaps we’ll determine a good midway spot to set aside time together.

Colorado was home or homebase for 10 years so seems like the best option. We considered other states: Utah, Oregon, and Western Washington. Yet the bonuses of returning to Colorado include having family and friends there, proximity to ample recreation opportunities, and an international airport for air travel. Becoming more centrally located again to family in the Midwest, Southwest, Northwest, and Southeast, will be more convenient. 

We’re casting a broad 180-mile net for a rental home. We’re considering the area from Fort Collins south to Canon City. This long stretch adjacent to the Rocky Mountains is part of The Front Range. We’re following several rental apps and Craigslist. The perfect scenario would be to find a one-level house or townhouse with two bedrooms and ample space for our household belongings in order to avoid a storage unit. A garage would be great to accommodate our numerous bikes, extra camping gear, and workbench. Because of Colorado’s increasingly hot summers and challenged air quality at times, we need air conditioning. A large enough driveway on which our 15’ trailer could be parked so we could avoid RV storage, would be fantastic. Not all communities or HOAs permit this arrangement though. 

NOTE: If any of our readers of this post have recommendations or referrals for suitable homes that fit our needs, kindly be in touch.

The Plan
We will spend a month in April camping along the Front Range to visit potential rental homes, spend time with our Denver family, and hopefully return to Pullman with a lease in hand that begins on June 1. Needing to move ourselves throughout June, we foresee making several trips back to Colorado towing a U-Haul trailer each time. (The price of a U-Haul truck has nearly double since July 2020 when we moved the household from Colorado to Washington). Our lease concludes in Pullman on June 27. Currently, we are in the process of downsizing even more thanks to Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Next Door (social media for neighborhoods). We’re ready to begin packing up boxes, after having unpacked just six months ago. Part of flexibility involves a degree of preparedness, where much of what we possess except essentials can be boxed up sooner than later in case an opportunity arises to move sooner. Thankfully we have a system in place and can reuse many of the boxes.

The all-too-familiar U-Haul moving boxes are ready to be used again.

We are extremely grateful for having resided in Pullman nearly two years. The goal in 2020 was to have a safe home base during the pandemic after the heartbreak of leaving our full-time RVing journey prematurely. The highlight has been our proximity to and time with our Pullman family. They have served as our buddy bubble for the past 20 months. Admittedly, it will be difficult to leave as we’ll miss them dearly.

Our fervent hope for you is that you’re having a more gentle beginning to 2022. More than anything, we pray that we all stay healthy in the ongoing COVID pandemic.

Our best to you,

Diane (and Steve)

We’re Happily Retired at the Speed of Sanity (even during periods of upheaval)


Our New Trailer Has a Name!

Our 2022 Rockwood Geo Pro 15TB has a name! We promise that it will be divulged at some point in this post. Hang with us and read along.

Assigning names to objects is kind of intriguing, isn’t it? Have you named your car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle, skateboard, airplane, etc? If you have an RV, have you named it? As those who’ve followed our former full-time RV lifestyle read from early posts, our first trailer was a 2018 Nash 26N made by Northwood Manufacturing. We named it “Tranquility”. Not only were we anticipating some tranquil times on our travels and surrounded by the beauty of our country, we also recall watching as youngsters the Apollo 11 Lunar Module landing in the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon. Our first truck that towed the Nash trailer was named “Bessie”. My paternal great-grandmother was named Bessie. When my great-grandfather John first laid eyes on Bessie, she was seated on a buggy at the reins of a spirited horse. As she zipped down the country road, my great-grandfather asked his friend who this young woman might be. An introduction was made in short order. We could envision our 2012 Ford F-250 being at the reins of “Tranquility” and spiriting us on our way around the country.

April 2018 – Tranquility the Trailer with Bessie the Truck

Naming provides identity. It also insinuates a type of bond. Perhaps the bond is related to a particular activity to which your object is tied. For example, my parents adopted the 1963 Chevy Suburban that first belonged to my aunt, uncle, and cousins. It was a battleship gray. They called it the” Gray Goose”. The Gray Goose went on many adventures with my aunt, uncle, and cousins and came to us with that history. So, we kept the name. It would be the first vehicle that became our primary wheels for getting to and from school when my younger sister, Char, and I didn’t take the school bus, especially with after school sports and clubs. The Gray Goose also had numerous adventures, including a 1973 girls’ trip to go camping in Wisconsin. There were other escapades reflecting some immature teenage choices. (I won’t go into details). Needless to say, Gray Goose was a fun and happy name!

August 1973 The Gray Goose, our old 1963 Suburban, en route to camp in Wisconsin with my sister and two friends.

Fast forward a few years with a growing family, Steve and I had one of the first mini-vans made. It was a 1984 Toyota Van Wagon. In fact, we read about it in a car magazine when we needed to replace our Datsun B-210 Hatchback. Then we visited the local Toyota dealer to ask about the Van Wagon.  Interestingly, they didn’t even know about the Van Wagon. We showed them the magazine article. We placed an order and waited a couple of months until it arrived. While we didn’t assign a name immediately, over time as our kids became older and more movie aware, they thought that “Yoda” from Star Wars would be a good name. You know, ToYOTA sounds a bit like YODA. Yoda took us 200,000+ miles of road trips, car pools, camping, bike trips, and more. We should have been a poster family for this vehicle because it was such an anomaly at the time. Countless times during the first years that we had it, we gave strangers a tour due to their curiosity. Top question: where is the engine located? Our answer: beneath the driver’s seat. They couldn’t believe their eyes when we’d unlock the driver’s seat, lift it, and show them the engine!

October 1984 – Yoda our 1984 Toyota Van Wagon

Okay…change of subject. Raise your hand if you like s’mores? Hands-down we LOVE them. All of the years of camping, our marshmallow roasting sticks remain a staple in our camping kitchen. Steve has such a knack for building wonderful campfires. He’d get a nice roaring campfire going. Then Jeremy, Stephanie, and I exercised patience as we gradually watched the flames give way to the perfect embers for roasting marshmallows. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a s’more or two or three.  Graham cracker square topped with a Hershey’s milk chocolate square, topped with a hot, roasted marshmallow, and lastly topped with another graham cracker square, Gently press to get a bit of oozing from the roasted marshmallow. OH YUM!

May 2021 – Roasting Marshmallows over a Campfire, Dworshak Reservoir State Park, Idaho.
Essentials for S’Mores (plus new roasting sticks)!
Ready, Set, Go for S’more Making!
February 2019. – Steve roasts a marshmallow at City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico.
June 2005 – Diane roasted a PERFECT marshmallow, Grand Lake, Colorado.
March 14, 2020 – It’s PI Day. We made a S’More Pie at Kartchner Caverns State Park, Arizona.

So…why tell you about s’more making? We invite you to take a good look at the photo of our 2022 Rockwood Geo Pro 15TB. Our imaginations say, “Hmmm….it’s the shape and white like a marshmallow!”  Does your imagination see a marshmallow?

Check this out carefully!

Then we look closer at the decals on the side of the Geo Pro. There’s two horizontal stripes, black and gold. Then there are swooches much like giant parentheses at each end of the side. Do you see a side view of a square of Hershey’s chocolate? This is the black stripe. Now how about the gold stripe beneath it? It sorta, kinda looks like a side view of a graham cracker square. See it? Now stay with me here. The half-circle decal swooshes at either end of the trailer’s side look a bit like a roasted marshmallow being squished as if pressed down. Well, this sure sounds like a S’MORE! 

Folks, meet our new trailer named S’more! With S’more, we can make SOME MORE memories. Plus, it will help us SEE MORE states, state parks, national parks, perhaps the southern tier of Canadian provinces, plus family and friends! What we’ll look forward to doing is sitting by a campfire at some point, roasting marshmallows, and making luscious, gooey, melt-in-your mouth s’mores. Even better would have you join us at our campfire! Stay tuned as 2022 brings some camping trips and we’ll share more of S’mores travels. Now…what to name our Toyota Highlander SUV…any thoughts?

Take care everyone ! Cheers to s’mores and S’More! May you have a Happy Thanksgiving next week.

Diane (& Steve)