Sunday, September 7, 2014

Whoa—been a long time—transitioning to our new life off the road

Sept. 7, 2014
Bend, Oregon

morning coffee by the river

Thanks to a friendly nudge from a fellow blogger I decided it was time to fire up the laptop, search for the Windows Live Writer icon and write an update on our lives since we delivered the Big EZ, our former motorhome, to its new owner in Billings, Montana back in mid-July.

I did not intend to take such a long absence from the blog and blogging in general. What happened seems analogous to the time we sold our home three years ago and started our journey on the road. For at least a year, Vic and I had a hard time looking at photos of our old home and its beautiful gardens without feeling a huge tug on our hearts—even though we were very excited about the decision to travel full-time in our motorhome. Saying goodbye to the Phaeton has brought up a similar feeling; it’s rather hard to look at Tiffin Phaetons towing Jeeps going down the road and to even revisit the blog world that was such a big part of our travels.

So I won’t pretend this transition to living in a sticks and brick home is without its emotions. The good news is we both felt “right” about the decision in spite of being a little afraid of how much we would miss the lifestyle and, most especially, the special friends we made along the way.

I also need to add that my blog reading fell off the same “boat.” Not until writing this have I realized that my resistance stems from a similar tug on my heart. It’s taking me a while to face the inevitable sadness that comes with the realization we won’t be seeing many of you this year. Please know my absence is not a sign of a lack of interest in your lives.

Now that the true confessions are over--my Catholic upbringing still has a hold on me--I am happy to share that we have been in our house four weeks already. This first month has been mostly a flurry of unpacking boxes (sixty from the motorhome alone), painting, organizing, and making lists of all the things we needed to purchase once again for home ownership like a vacuum, shower curtain, light bulbs, houseplants, rugs, a television, a DVR, and the list goes on.

moving van at shop 
We hired a local moving company to haul our belongings over the mountain from Corvallis to Bend, about a 130 mile trip

living room unpacking1

kitchen unpacking1

When we sold our home, we sold about 70% of our belongings; the rest we put in a storage unit. We kept our best furniture and lots of art for the walls. Thankfully, we have not had to purchase any furniture for the house; the bigger challenge was having more furniture than we thought our 1250 sq..ft. home could accommodate. Happily, we have found places for most of the furniture but have had to edit down the art considerably.

Vic’s greatest challenge has been making a one-car garage hold our Jeep, kayaks, bikes, “camping” gear, and all the other miscellaneous things that don’t fit in the house. If you know him, he likes to keep things tidy and organized so it has required many trips to Home Depot to find the right shelves, hooks, and other storage goodies.

new garage1
Our one-car garage overflowing with boxes

Admittedly, we have been rather obsessed with daily tasks of making our house a home. There’s no real hurry but we both have felt a self-imposed urgency. Aside from emptying all the boxes, the next priority was choosing paint (it took me about 20 samples to find just the right color) to free us from the overwhelming shade of blue that enveloped us in the main areas of the house, the living room and kitchen.

living room with blue walls

fireplace with blue walls

Painting is one of the homeowner tasks Vic loves to do and, as you can imagine, because of his eye for detail, he is quite good at it; however, with 15 ft. ceilings, the task was not too easy. We had to buy a a ten foot ladder for Vic to be able to cut in at the top of the wall. It’s amazing how much better these rooms look with the new paint color called jute, a pale shade of khaki green.

As our task list gets a little shorter, we are looking forward to taking more advantage of all there is to do here-- concerts, festivals, art walks, and plenty of beer tasting venues. Aside from working on the house, I have also been a factor in not pursuing many outdoor adventures yet as I have been suffering from a foot injury that caused me to finally see a podiatrist followed by several trips to physical therapy. I sprained my ankle about six weeks ago and did not take good care of it. Whatever compensation I was doing for the weak ankle led to a raging case of plantar fasciitis. I have been told to lay off hiking, biking, and zumba for a while until my ankle is stronger and the throbbing in my foot diminishes. We did, however, just join an amazing local fitness center that has an Olympic size pool, so I can at least get in the water—something I already miss about being on the road—having a pool to enjoy at many of the campgrounds where we stayed.

I am also more than ready to go kayaking. The Deschutes River flows right through town here and they estimate about 1000 people a day use the $1 shuttle on summer weekends to float the river on tubes, kayaks, and paddleboards.

river with activity
Several tubers hook up to float down the Deschutes River near the downtown area

river with paddleboarders2
A young paddleboarder negotiates the river in front of the Old Mill Shops

We also have an abundance of mountain lakes to choose from for kayaking. The only challenge now is that the weather is getting cooler fast. Fall is definitely in the air. We have already had a couple nights with temps in the high 30s—geez! Fortunately, the daytime temps have been in the 70s to low 80s. We aren’t really sure how we will react to the truly cold weather of winter when it comes.

The dogs have adjusted to our home pretty well. They seem to be enjoying the freedom of more space and a yard, but are a little clingy when they think we are going somewhere. Rico even follows me into the walk-in closet when I am putting away clothes. He seems to be less sure about this house thing than Jetta as he spent most of his life in the motorhome (all but a year). It will be very interesting to see how they will react to snow. Jetta has seen a day or two of it in her life, but it will be a new experience for Rico.

One outdoor activity we have been doing is trying out the many dog parks in town. We have learned we much prefer the ones with grassy areas as this time of year things get quite dusty around here. The closest one to our house is pretty good too as it has large wood chips and access to the river for dogs to swim and fetch. There are even off-leash cross country trails for dogs to join their owners while they ski—not sure I would feel that confident to have them in the woods in deep snow.

dog park pine nursery best
Vic and the dogs stop for a pose just outside the grassy off-leash area at Pine Nursery Park 

A concern in moving here was living in a house where the neighbors are not likely to stop over for happy hour, hold potlucks, or sit around a campfire like we have experienced in our motorhome travels. Ironically, I remember feeling quite concerned that our social life on the road would be diminished and that Vic and I would quickly grow tired of each other with few friends around to spice up our life. That concern resolved itself faster than we could have ever imagined. Our best memories of the past three years are of times we spent with the friends we made along the way in various campgrounds. Fortunately, we know quite a few people here who moved from the valley where we used to live and my best friend from high school moved here from the Chicago area three years ago, so we are lucky to have good friends here already. We are also hoping that those of you on the road reading this will be sure to let us know when you are in the area so we can have you over and show you some of our Bend discoveries.

I will close with a few other random photos of our house and life in Bend. Let the Good Times Roll—wherever you are.

pam on frotn porch

bend beer fest
We spent a lovely Saturday afternoon at the annual Bend Beerfest
 where they had over 150  beers on tap for sampling. Good thing we could walk back home!

Sitting on a bluff near our house after sunset listening to a Jack Johnson concert
that was taking place at the nearby Les Schwab outdoor amphitheater 


  1. Great new title!

    What a wonderful update. Your house looks absolutely lovely. The new paint is perfect. It brightens the living area up so much. When we purchased our current home, we didn't plan on giving up traveling. We are only here for a few months. We went through the same growing pains you two have gone through only we didn't have a stitch of furniture. We lived like college kids, sitting on the floor to watch TV and eat for several weeks. We would go out to the motorhome to sleep. Finally, I said...Paul, I can't do this any longer. In one day, we bought living room furniture and two bedroom suits. Our wallets were crying the blues that month.

    You picked a gorgeous area to call home. We spent a day in Bend when we visited OR a few years back. We loved the area.

    Good luck with your new home. Hope you post ever so often to let us know how you are doing.

    1. I remember reading about your part-time transition to a home and all your hard work inside snd out. There's no room here for an RV pad, but that doesn't mean there are no RVs in our future. We are taking a year off then will re-evaluate our nomadic desires.

  2. So great to hear from you! Glad to see you are all settled in and freshly painted. I must say that blue was hard to look at, but your new color is lovely:)

    We are looking forward to visiting Bend in one of our trips south. Since we aren't very good at planning too far ahead, I don't know when that will be. We don't know where we are going when we leave Banff on the 25th of this month! That is unless it gets too cold and snows, then we will be leaving early.

    Sounds like there is plenty to keep you busy in Bend:) Take care of your ankle and foot. Hope you are back to zumba soon:)

    Say hello to Vic. Do write once in awhile as your transition continues. We enjoy hearing from you.

    1. Banff was one of the places on our list we still want to visit. I need to catch up with your adventures there.

      Wish we could offer you an RV pad for your stay here, but we sure hope to see you on your way south!

  3. Good to hear from you again! What a bummer about your foot/ankle. Wishing you a quick and smooth recovery. Looks like you are settling in nicely. I sure hope you do well with the cold weather!

    1. Nice to hear from you too! Settling in sounds a little scary (as in boring), but we are thrilled to be in such a fun town and outdoor mecca. Winter will be an interesting challenge.

  4. Congrats on the new home - you sure picked a wonderful area to settle in. Great color choice for the walls - looks much better. Now, I have to that you are no longer living in Corvallis, do you think you'll become a Duck fan haha!!

    1. Ha ha is right. I should have taken photos of the Beaver flag flying in front of the house the past two Saturdays. Our family would disown us if we became Ducks. Fortunately, we already have a Beaver fan base here.

  5. Well you are not getting rid of us that easy I was able to book 5 nights at Tumallo State Park starting on the 14th... and yes we plan on visiting as many breweries as we can fir in...

    1. Can't wait to see you two. Let's see--nineteen breweries in five days. That seems do-able!

  6. I can't wait to be traveling in Oregon and you can betcha when we do, Bend is on the list!
    Your home is the jute! And oh my, what a kitchen. I can just hear the pots and pans rattling as you prepare some of those delicious meals and desserts!

    It is so good to hear from you!

  7. Saw your comment on my blog and went looking for you. Really glad to see this update and reconnect with you. The painting is a GREAT improvement. So glad you posted the before and after. I would never have imagined how much better it looks. So sorry to hear about your ankle and foot. Hope it doesn't put a cramp in your style for long. Don't be a stranger!

  8. Thank you for posting! I've been wondering how it's going. The house looks great, I love the paint color. We were in Corvallis yesterday and walked by the old Coed Cottage. Bend is a good place to be - we really like it. I am so sorry you have plantar fasciitis, which I still can not spell. In 2005 I had it from excessive use of crutches, and it was worse than the surgery on the other foot which put me on the crutches in the first place.

  9. So glad to hear from you! Boy, can we identify with those feelings of not being able to look at Phaetons without pangs, and even the same feelings about reading all our friends' blogs who are still traveling! Your new home town looks absolutely wonderful and so glad you have friends there already. Keep in touch, I still like to read about what blogging friends are doing, even if you stay home! Love the new colors, by the way! Very soothing!

  10. Wow, quite a transition! Congratulations on your well planned exit strategy and new home. For now I can't still think of staying put but one day we will be facing decisions as you have in the last few months.
    Bend was not on our route last 2012 and we are definitely going back to Oregon. We met a few people who says Bend is a great town to live in. Well if you are still blogging within the confines of your new home, we will know for sure what it feels like.

  11. I guess I'm a little late in commenting, but I just happened to see your blog on another blog sidebar. What a surprise! It looks like you're settling in nicely and have a lovely new house. Guess we won't be seeing you in the Keys this year!

  12. Its not my first time to go to see this site,
    i am browsing this web page dailly and take pleasant information from here
    every day.


Don't be shy. We would love to hear your comments!