Saturday, July 19, 2014

A change of plans—saying goodbye to the Big EZ

June 24, 2014-July 19, 2014
Corvallis, Oregon

A lovely heirloom rose grown by my friend Marilyn
It has been a while since I last posted and there is good reason, at least in my mind, for the lapse. Our plans to stay on the West Coast this coming winter morphed into something else. August will mark the end of three years of full-time living in the motorhome for us. As much as we have loved almost every minute of it, there have been other adventures calling us too. Having two dogs with us has made it harder to pursue things such as flying off to Mexico as we used to do once or twice a year, or flying back to the West Coast from Florida to spend holidays with our kids and grandkids. The more we envisioned spending winter in a campground in Southern California, the more we started to discuss the idea of coming off the road—at least for a while.

We have envisioned all along that Bend, Oregon would be the place we would like to call home when we were ready to give up the motorhome. Two years ago, when we stayed in Bend for about six weeks, we discovered that the real estate was still affordable so we took advantage of it and bought a small townhome. In a perfect world, we could keep the motorhome and the house, but that would leave little money for fuel and campgrounds—let alone some other types of travel we intend to do. So, the plan is to take a year off from life on the road and see what it is like to live in this great town. (Admittedly, we are already planning winter getaways as we have not endured cold weather in a long time. . . .)

A little glimpse of our new home in the Old Mill District of Bend
Once we decided to make the move to Bend later this summer, I advertised the Big EZ on RV Trader and a few other websites. The response was almost overwhelming. We had a buyer within a week,  much sooner than we were prepared for so we had to get into action and start packing.

packing up with vic
Vic giving me a look of disbelief as we packed up all our belongings in the motorhome

final cleaning
The cleaning for new owners never seemed to end as we found ourselves continually
 wiping everything down as we made the 900 mile trek to Billings

We both felt great about the new family who would be the second owners of our motorhome.They are a family of five who are very enthusiastic about creating memories together by camping and visiting many National Parks. The only big challenge in the sales agreement was timing and distance as they live in Iowa. The new owner Brent never even came to see the motorhome in person. I made a video of the exterior and interior and that was enough to convince him this was the motorhome for his family. We settled the distance issue by agreeing to meet each other halfway in Billings, Montana for the exchange. We drove the motorhome about 950 miles to meet the new owner, Brent, at the KOA in Billings.

pam and brent at airport2
Meeting the new owner Brent was even better in person as he showed incredible patience
with our two-hour review of all the workings of the motorhome

vic and new owner going over parts2
Vic explains all the extra parts he had stashed away for emergency repairs

Happily, we flew back to Portland from there so only had to do the drive one way. Brent even drove us to the airport in the motorhome. It was pretty emotional to walk away from such a beautiful part of our lives, but we know we can create these kind of memories again if we find we miss it too much.

brent the new owner2
Brent, the new owner, drives the motorhome for the first time

goodbye to our mh
Saying goodbye to the Big EZ at the Billings airport

All these happenings have brought us to a fork in the road called Thank God We Have Generous Friends as we are staying at “Chez Cooks” in Corvallis until we can move into our Bend home in August. (Our plans had been to be stay at in the motorhome where we have parked behind their house the two previous summers but this time we needed a bedroom too!) The ironic part is they have their home on the market and are moving to California just a few days after we head to Bend. I guess we feel like kindred spirits facing such big changes in our lives.

Last photo of the Big EZ at Chez Cook's RV pad

While staying here we are catching up with our annual doctor and dentist appointments, visiting with old hometown friends, and taking short trips to some of our favorite places such as the nearby coast in Newport and Lincoln City.

A memorable gathering of friends for dinner

Vic and the pooches pose for a moment during a wonderful walk
along Nye Beach in Newport

Tomorrow we are heading off to Astoria, a three-hour drive from here, to spend time with my oldest son for five days. When we return, we plan to do some kayaking on the local rivers and get in some wine tasting excursions in the luscious Willamette Valley.

clinton campground
Our last lovely campsite in the Big EZ along the Clark Fork River
 in Clinton, Montana before meeting the new owner in Billings

Now that we no longer have the Big EZ, I plan to bring the blog to a close around the time we actually move in to our new home. I am not quite ready to say goodbye. Our big transition will seem more real when we actually take up residence in the house and start planning new adventures as retirees in Bend.


  1. What a huge decision you have we all will face as well. I guess you just "know" when it's time. Your home in Bend is lovely and I know you all will be very happy and comfy! Bend is in our travel plans...maybe next summer. Hope our paths cross again!

    1. It's easier for us to think of this move as a one year break. We really are staying open to pursuing RV adventures in the future again.

      Please promise to visit us when you are in the area. No RV pad but there's a great one nearby!

  2. Wow... I guess we won't be crossing paths much anymore... but we may be passing through bend on our way south from Montana...

    1. We just about crossed paths in Montana, that's why I was wondering how long you were in Missoula but we were on a timetable--sigh. Surely we will cross paths again. We really will miss our winters I n Florida. We haven't ruled that out after this year. Love to see you in Bend--the microbrew capital of the Northwest!

  3. Well, that was unexpected news ... at least for your readers. Totally understand, however ... as you know we've been mixing in "non-Phaeton vacations" with fulltiming. And though it isn't as easy as locking the door of a stix & brix and taking off for parts yonder, thus far it's working for us. Of course, we have no pets -- which was a conscious decision on our part since we knew we'd never be fully satisfied without our overseas travels. I sure hope you'll come back and write about your non-motorhome travels ... maybe a new blog ;-))

    Good luck with your new lifestyle.

    1. Yes, I have envied your mixture of overseas travel and Phaeton adventures. The dog challenge is one we will always have as we can't imagine life without them so we make compromises. We find it much easier and comforting to have dog sitters at our home than using kennels, so we are already planning Mexico and Hawaii winter getaways. Not sure yet about a new blog--appreciate the encouragement!

  4. Looks like a big, and difficult, decision to make. I know you two will be happy no matter where you are! We too are trying to figure out where we want to land someday as we travel and it's not an easy choice by any means!

    I would love to end up in OR, but Hans is really turned off by the high state income taxes, so we are seriously considering WA. Who knows how it will all play out!

    We'll look you up whenever we are in Bend, would love to hear about your next phase too!

    1. The decision doesn't seem so momentous if we think of it as a one year plan. We think we will love Bend but still don't want to be there for much of the winter although we are looking forward to the possibility of a white Christmas and cross-country skiing.

      Please be sure to look us up whenever you are in the area!

  5. I was wondering why it had been so long since we'd heard form you but I nearly choked on my breakfast when I read this title. Did I know you bought a town home in Bend? Probably and it's my unbelievably unreliable memory. I guess you must have rented it out for these two years. I've never been there but everyone talks and posts about what a great place Bend is. I am so sorry we won't get to meet again on the road but at least we caught you once and hopefully you'll be home when we hit Bend. But then you might be in Mexico or who knows where. How do you deal with the dogs when you do that from your house? Not having dogs, I was having difficulty understanding how they are harder in the RV than in a home. HAPPY HOUSEWARMING. Less than two weeks away! Oh and congratulations on selling the Big EZ SO quickly. I need to find out how you did that too. I have so much to learn from you. LOL.

    1. Sorry for the shock at breakfast. I thought about easing into the news but things progressed so quickly that I missed the opportunity.

      If you come to Bend in the summer or fall, we are likely to be there. It's a great place to pursue the three things we both love: hiking, biking, and kayaking.

      Regarding the dog challenge, it's way easier to have dog sitters in the house than use a kennel. We are lucky to have several friends in Bend already with lots of potential connections for reliable sitters, so that should make it easier. We'll see. This idea of living in a house as a retiree is all new territory for me!

  6. That is a big decision, but change can be very good. We gave up full timing after over five years on the road and shifted to anytime RVing and other travels. We are still very happy with that decision. Enjoy the new adventure!

    1. I think we are both hoping to add "Anytime RVing" to our life in the not too distant future.

  7. Well! I am shocked and surprised! Please leave the blog up with a link to reach you. Many of us move through Bend and would love to get in touch. If you shut the blog down we can't find you. All the best with your new venture.

    1. I plan to leave the blog up and sure do look forward to visitors!

  8. Well, congratulations! Not really surprised, and happy for you two. Three years is about what we decided, too! It's a wonderful decision and a wonderful place to be. That area was one of my absolute favorites. You have a place to stay in Sarasota, any time, if you want to come for a winter break. :-) We had a hard time selling our motorhome, so glad it went easy for you!

    1. You chose our other favorite place to spend time. Don't be surprised if we take you up on that offer!

  9. Congratulations on your new adventure. I'm a newer follower but I've enjoyed reading your blog.

  10. Guess I was late getting on your blog bandwagon! We love Bend, my folks live nearby and we summer in Newport. Your cover photo is the South side of the lighthouse, we are North. Enjoy Bend. I love the Old Mill to get my shopping fix and all the Breweries. Be sure to take the Cascade Lakes Highway for a wonderful Sunday drive. Good luck and safe journeys.

  11. Going to miss you sooooooo much!!!! But enjoy yourselves. Love ya---Mike and BJ


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