Thursday, December 30, 2010

Playing Sit & Sort; and the Dolphin Gets a Name!

We are still waiting to see what kind of my housing my kid, Sly, is going to get so that I can be on my merry way. I originally put in my notice to be out of my rental house by January 14th, but since Sly still doesn't have an apartment or a room in a house with other students, I've rescheduled my departure until the end of January. My property manager is a very nice, flexible guy, so whether I leave earlier or later than January 31st, it will all be okay, just so long as I communicate regularly as to what my plans are.

In the meantime, I now have a little more time to carefully go through things. First I went through all of my eBay inventory that I am bringing with me--vintage designer silk scarves that I haven't yet listed for sale. My inventory and the reference books on scarves, silk, designers, etc. now all fit nicely into one 18-gallon Rubbermaid tote.

I spent several days working on a lifetime of photographs, going from three bankers' boxes to one small box that I can bring with me and enjoy.

Then I went through all of my vintage fabrics...haven't been able to confine them into one Rubbermaid tote, but I'll make another pass through these before I leave.

Now I'm working on art supplies. As a mosaic artist, I have lots of heavy materials that I won't be bringing with me. I'm going to concentrate on fabric art while traveling because it's so much lighter to work with, and also my unsold scarves make wonderful sewing materials. I'd like to get my art stuff down to one Rubbermaid tote, and I have quite a ways to go on that goal.

After researching dolphin facts, dolphin-related gods and goddesses, dolphin-sounding names, etc., I've decided to call my motorhome "The Guppy." True, baby dolphins are not guppies; they are called calves. But I can't see myself saying, "Well, let me go see if I have it in The Calf..." Laura Dekker, the 14-year-old girl who is currently trying to be the youngest person to sail around the world, has a ketch called Guppy, and she is an inspiration to me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Atlanta in the Springtime

(Sonja, Explorer of Boxes, Large and Small)

Great news! I've lined up a petsitting gig outside of Atlanta, mid-May through early June. It's at an eco-village type community called Serenbe, dubbed the "Sonoma of the New South" by the New York Times. I can't wait! The setting is beautiful, the community is close-knit, and there's lots of culture, an organic farm, restaurants and a weekly farmers/artists market. I'll be taking care of some large active dogs and a couple of cats in my client's home. My own kitty, Sonja, will stay in my motorhome, very near the house, where I can visit her several times a day.

I hadn't actually planned to go as far east as Atlanta in 2011, but this is a fun (and paid!) opportunity, and it may well lead to similar gigs in the future.

My other piece of good news today is that I was able to very quickly liquidate my entire inventory of antiques by selling them to another antique dealer. I didn't get much money for my stuff, but the guy is going to take everything out of the antique mall space that I was renting, so I don't have to! This is a huge time-saver, because I was anticipating having to box everything up and take it to another venue, such as the local flea market, to try one last time to sell it before I start my travels. So, one more item is now checked off of my "get out of town" list.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Usually before I go to sleep at night, I read a few pages of a novel. But for the past month or two, my bedtime reading has been my road atlas and various travel books. I've dreamed up a three-year itinerary that would allow me to see most of the Lower 48 states and Canada.

My plans for 2011 take me first to the Southwest to soak up the sun and get the moss off my backside. Then I want to meander east as far as Louisiana, then head north on the Great River Road, spending the summer visiting family and friends in the Midwest, before returning to the Pacific Northwest in the fall.

I figure on going to the East Coast for a large part of 2012, including spending some time in Eastern Canada, a place I've never been.

So, here I am, not yet even having gassed up the Dolphin and headed out of town, and I'm already changing my itinerary. Why? A cool opportunity to housesit at an intentional eco-village near Atlanta, Georgia, this coming May.

I'm very interested in intentional communities of all kinds. At this stage of my life, I want to travel. I want to see all of the U.S.A. and the rest of North America, although I'm pretty chicken about going to Mexico right now. I definitely want to see more of the world outside of my own continent, too. But eventually I'm going to want to settle down someplace where I have a strong sense of community and purpose. So I'll gladly drive 497 miles out of my way (New Orleans to Atlanta) to spend two weeks at Serenbe, especially for a paying housesitting client.

And now that I'm making a detour, I will have the glee of picking new routes! I like the dreams I have after falling asleep with the atlas on my lap.

My pics today are early ones of my child, Sly, who at age 18 is staying behind in Oregon to start college. I'm in the process of scanning photos before I start traveling. It was a project I dreaded, but now that I've started it, I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Dolphin is Gutted!

Here is the living room/dining room area of my 1983 Toyota Dolphin motorhome, gutted by my carpenter friend, Eric. As you can see, there are some floor-level cabinets on the left that still have to come out. On the right is the water tank and some other mechanical stuff. So Erik will have to build over these two obstacles with the new built-in furniture, but he is very creative!

Erik is going to put down cork flooring, which he got a deal on because we selected a pattern that was clearance-priced, with only 100 sf left--just about the amount we needed. Eric selected birch plywood for the furniture he'll be building.

Here's the left side of the Dolphin, which used to have a couch/convertible bed built over the cabinets that still need to come out. Eric is going to re-route the plumbing so the pipes run right along the wall. Then he can remove these cabinets and start building a new restaurant-style booth and table. The bench seats will have storage underneath, and the table will drop down onto the seats to convert into an extra bed for when I have a friend or family member visiting me.

Here's a better look at the right side, where the big work bench will be built over the water tank. I sell vintage scarves and other textiles on eBay, and there will be room under the work table for Rubbermaid bins that will contain my work stuff and hobbies.

The motorhome seems so much bigger with the built-ins gone, and I am hoping that Eric can preserve the sense of openness.

In addition to building tables and storage, Eric is going to build in a ladder and bed rail. It should look really shipshape when he's done!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Took a Spin to the Oregon Coast

My carpenter friend will have my Dolphin for a couple of weeks while he remodels the interior, so I decided I should take it out for a good drive before he gets started. My kid and I drove to the Oregon Coast yesterday. It was just a quick trip out and back again. The weather was nice when we left, but it started to rain very quickly and the rain picked up throughout the day.

We found a nice rest stop along Hwy 126 that I had never noticed before. (It's kind of funny how I see things differently now that I'm thinking about where to hang out in my RV.) It's a boat ramp on the Siuslaw River that has restrooms and picnic tables in a lovely, very green setting. You can park there for 30 minutes without a permit, which apparently boaters need to launch their boats there.

We stopped in Old Town Florence for a few minutes and did a little shopping. I bought myself a very nice walking stick--like a cane, but with a knob. I've needed one of those for a long time and just the right one appeared. It is made of twisted oak with an olive wood knob. I also got a sticker to put on the door of my RV letting emergency personnel know that I have a cat inside. (Well, she's not in there yet, but she will be, when it's our home.) We decided we'd better head back to Eugene quickly, because the rain was so hard, the river was rising. At Cushman, the water was the highest and closest to the road that I've ever seen it.

I found out a few things about my rig by making this little road trip. First off, when I bought it, the seller told me that it needed shocks, and indeed it does. All of my previous driving had been either on the freeway or on level city streets. On Highway 126, which has lots of potholes and other unruliness, the ride was a little rough and the Dolphin didn't handle that great. Part of this is because I'm not used to the motorhome yet--so when it catches a little wind or it's on an uneven surface, I get anxious. The shocks should help, and I'll definitely get them replaced before I head south.

Another thing I learned, from driving the Dolphin in the dark for the first time, is that my dash lights don't work, so I'll get those checked, along with one of my taillights that is out.

Finally, I learned that I am going to be one of those drivers that used to drive the younger me nuts when I'd get stuck behind them. Hey, it's a motorhome. It doesn't go fast up big hills.

So here's what I learned about myself on my mini-trip: I can hardly wait to get going! Yesterday's little trip made it all more real, and getting on the road is what I really want to do. So today I went out and bought a few things I'm going to need on the road (the tube for the dump station, a cup holder for my rig that's too old to have one built in, etc.). And as soon as I push the "Publish Post" button, I'm going to email my landlord and give my notice on my rental house. This should make it even more real.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Found a Carpenter to Remodel My Rig!

I'm so friend Trudy that I got to see over the weekend at the flea market got me connected with her daughter's former partner.

Eric is currently unemployed and he's a very talented carpenter. He's going to yank the old furniture out of my Dolphin and build in the more practical furniture and storage that I have in mind. This should give me adequate workspace and storage for the various functions I'll want to carry on in my motorhome, some of which require some counter space, such as photographing things I'm selling on eBay or cutting fabric for a sewing project.

Erik has all-around remodeling experience, not just carpentry, so he's going to tear out my carpet and put in a tile floor. I'm so excited about this!

Erik has a great understanding of what I need, and he is doing some drawings that we'll go over this weekend. Then my motorhome will be with him for a couple of weeks while he makes these changes. I should have the Dolphin in time to make a practice trip before I actually head out and start living full-time in the motorhome in mid-January.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Big Sale at the Antique Store

Today I'm putting up signs in my antique store space that say:



40% OFF!

I think I'll have a very good month at the antique store. I've put in my notice there and need to be out of my space at the end of December. I think a lot of stuff will disappear at 40 percent off, and I can always increase the discount as the month progresses, especially after Christmas.

My Dolphin is still full of stuff that I took to the flea market over the weekend. The trick over the next couple of days is to make all that stuff go away and have as little as possible come back into the house. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Flea Market Success

I forgot to take the camera with me yesterday...too bad, I had a great time this weekend talking to other flea market vendors. I've actually gotten to know several of the folks a bit during this year in Eugene, even though I only sold at the flea market a couple of times myself. I did a lot of buying there this year, though.

The flea market vendor crowd are people who completely understand the desire to get in a motor home and follow the sun. As I mentioned in my last post, I reconnected with a friend who will be heading south in her own Toyota Dolphin about the same time as I am (we're aiming for mid-January). I got the feeling from talking to the savvy, independent women who sell at this flea market that many of them would like to join our convoy! I got a lot of tips about selling at flea markets and similar venues on my travels.

It wasn't a very busy weekend at the market, but I did pocket several hundred dollars to put away for my travels. And now I have a lot of stuff out of the house that is not going to go back in. The stuff that remains in the Dolphin today, after the flea market, will be either heading to my antique store space to be sold at blow-out prices or it will be donated to charity. Doing that sorting and emptying is the goal for the next day or two.

I'm getting to the point now that I can actually pack for my travels. I have several empty Rubbermaid totes and I'm starting to fill them by function: Art tote; sewing tote; eBay inventory tote; eBay shipping supplies tote, etc.

Now I really need to get the interior of my motorhome remodeled so it can accommodate my totes. I have a pretty doable plan, I just need someone to do the ripping out and building for me. Fortunately my flea market connections may yield up a reasonably priced carpenter son-in-law of a vendor...hoping to find out on that today!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Packed Up the RV!

Yes, I packed up the Toyota Dolphin yesterday. I wish I could say it was because I'm ready to hit the road and head south to warmer climes! However, I was only packing up the motorhome with stuff that I took to the flea market to sell this weekend.

It was great, though, to use a vehicle that could carry so much stuff. It made me realize that, with some remodeling, my rig will be adequate for my full-time living and working needs. I packed it up today with waaaaay more stuff than I intend to bring with me on my travels.

Planning for the flea market this week has really helped me shape up ideas about how to continue getting rid of stuff. Since it wasn't practical for me to haul furniture over to the flea market, I realize I'll need to have a moving sale before I leave town. I'll plan on doing that after Christmas, maybe in early January, and then hit the road. I'm planning to put in my notice on my rental house for January 15th.

What's making this all possible is my great kid. Sly is very excited about going to college, starting in early January and will be looking for a place to live immediately.

I had the greatest thing happen to me at the flea market today. I unexpectedly saw a friend who I'd met this past summer, also at the flea market. We have an uncanny amount in common. It almost got spooky today when Trudy told me that she, too, has a 1980s Toyota Dolphin and will also be heading south sometime in January. So now we have each other for support and encouragement, both as we get ready to head out and once we get on the road. We also share a lot of interests in doing artwork and selling I'm sure we'll want to hit a few of the same art fairs and so on. Yay! Watch out for the Dolphin Chicks from Eugene! (Here is where I should have a great picture of Trudy and me...maybe I can get that at the flea market tomorrow.)

Today was a successful day at the flea market. I made my expenses for the weekend by lunchtime and then I was going to start making some traveling money after that. However, the sales pretty much dried up in the afternoon when the Civil War started (University of Oregon vs. Oregon State). Tomorrow should be better, and it will be all money I can tuck away for my travels.

Yes, of course the Ducks won!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Traveling With Sonja

Last night I finished reading "American Nomad" by Richard Grant. It was the most compelling nonfiction book I've read in a long time. I usually like the idea behind nonfiction--the story of a person's life or the development of a scientific concept or whatever--but I usually can't get as excited about the details as the author does. But this time, I just wanted to be along for the ride, as the author traveled, met interesting contemporary nomads, and researched historic ones.

I could identify with the author's dilemmas. Do I stay in my rental house when I could be someplace else in my truck? Where can I work better, where there is electricity or where there is silence? Do I really have to have a reason, purpose or goal, or is just being enough?

What I learned from this book is that I have the same yearnings as the people Grant wrote about. I even have a new name for the type of wanderer I am becoming: a "technomad." I'll be making my living on eBay while traveling the country, finding great inventory.

I wish I had acclimated my cat, Princess Sonja Begonia, to travel as soon as I got her several years ago. However, teaching her to ride in a car seemed unimportant at the time, and, besides, she had enough adjusting to do, living in a house with other cats and dogs. Sonja had been dumped in a park along with her mom and the rest of the litter, and she was probably about 7 or 8 months old when the whole kit and caboodle was rounded up by Animal Control and offered for adoption.

Sonja has been a fabulous pet, especially considering her feral youth. She's not much of a lap cat, but she sleeps on my bed every night. She loves boxes and seems to genuinely like the pet stroller I recently bought in anticipation of our travels together. I'm figuring that when we're staying someplace just a night or two, I won't let Sonja outside where she might get lost. But I can take her out in the stroller. We'll see how that works out.

I hope the stroller works out better than my last attempt to exercise control over Sonja in the great outdoors. When I moved to Eugene in January, I kept the cat indoors for several months. When the weather got nicer, she wanted to go outside, but I was concerned about her safety. She may have survived in a park for some time, but I knew she didn't have street smarts. So I got a cute pink harness and leash and tried to train Sonja to walk on a lead. Unfortunately the only thing I trained her to do was to run and hide when she saw me coming with the horrible pink contraption. Eventually I gave up and let Sonja wander freely outdoors. She loves to chase squirrels and climb trees. Clearly the leash idea was doomed to fail from the beginning.

I think it's going to be a challenge to confine Sonja in a moho, especially because she hates traveling in cars. Her experience with car travel is limited, but memorable. She traveled five hours with me from Seattle to Eugene, sedated--yet she managed to caterwaul most of the way. She gets so worked up on the short trip to the vet that it takes several staff people to administer shots or whatever, with the cat sometimes airborne and the staff looking like receivers all reaching to catch the football.

But everyone who has done extensive vehicular travel with a cat tells me Sonja will eventually get used to full-time RV life. At this point, that seems pretty impossible...but many years ago I did have a cat, Punkin, who eventually got used to our twice yearly commutes between home in Alaska and grad school in Oregon. So maybe there's hope for Sonja (and me!), too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Provisions for the Journey

I had a good time with my best friend this past weekend, and one of the things that came up in our conversation was how much fun the old computer game "Oregon Trail" was. I played it occasionally when my kids were growing up. Often, the key to survival in the pre-Walmart West was how well you chose to stock up before you left. I got pretty good at figuring out what needed to be acquired ahead of time and what could be found along the way, so most of my party usually made it to Oregon.

Of course, since it's the 21st rather than the 19th Century, I'll have the option of buying just about anything I need along the way. But, as I'm getting rid of things, I'm also acquiring a few replacements that I hope will fit my new lifestyle as a full-time RVer/eBayer. I've been avidly reading postings on several Yahoo groups as well as books on living on the road.

As a result, I'm "trading in" my big crockpot for a much smaller one and my full-size board games for travel-size replacements. I bought a smaller vintage Wagner cast iron skillet at a flea market recently and will give my larger one to my kid. I've given away many bags of clothing (including many cotton shirts that I normally used to iron), but I've also purchased a few items to replace them--warm, easy to launder items such as fleece.

My best friend gave me a great idea for dealing with the many photos I've acquired over a lifetime of sedentary living. I have at least a banker's box full of photographs. I was thinking of becoming a scrapbooker, something that's never appealed to me. But Helen suggested that I scan the photos and then have SnapFish or a similar company make a few books of the pictures I love the most. My experience has been that, once I get signed up for one of these online photo companies, they give me lots of coupons and special deals. So I could make multiple photobooks on different topics. I find this a lot more appealing than dealing with the hardcopy photos, glue, etc.

Scanning photos reminds me of another "trade" I need to make before I go. I currently use a huge laser printer that also faxes, scans and copies. There won't be room for it in my moho, so I'm beginning to look for a portable printer. So getting the photos scanned before I leave town seems like a good idea, and perhaps I can delegate portions of this task to my kid.

I will also be bringing along an inventory of things to sell on eBay. Fortunately, several years ago, I realized that I was spending too much time and energy figuring out how to safely ship antiques and collectibles. So I limited my eBay sales mostly to textiles, such as ladies' designer vintage silk scarves, antique table linens, and those goofy Midcentury sewing fabrics. (The photo above is a quilt I'm making from vintage fabrics...I'll be sewing and selling these along the way as I travel, too.) All of these things can be stored compactly and shipped easily.

Looking for wonderful eBay inventory along the road will be part of the fun...but I'm also stocking up right now on silk scarves so I'll have plenty of inventory to keep my eBay business thriving once I leave. In fact, I made a major purchase yesterday, buying a Hollywood scarf collector's stash, that cost me almost as much as my Toyota Dolphin. It's the biggest investment I've ever made in eBay fodder, but it will keep my business afloat for months to come, so I think it's the right thing to do.

I'd love input from my friends on the road who are reading this. Play an updated version of "Oregon Trail," and tell me what I need to bring and what I should leave behind. I know some of this is a very personal decision...I'll probably bring more books than I really need, but I've done that my whole life and I'd be surprised if that changes now :-)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Back from Seattle

I had a very successful and fulfilling trip to the Seattle area these past few days. I saw some friends and took care of some business. Today I drove back to Eugene in snow and slushy rain, and, boy, am I ready to head south! Well, ready in parts of my head, anyway. There still remains a lot to be done, but I am ready to do it.

I've been reading a really great book the past few days: American Nomads by Richard Grant. I'd heard of Grant before. He's an Englishman who travels all over America, writing stories and books, sometimes on specific assignments, sometimes not. In this book, he writes about people like himself...folks with wanderlust. Some live as nomads because it's the lifestyle that fits the land where they were born, such as a desert. Others choose a nomadic life because they don't like or don't fit into society; others choose it because they want to live close to the land. Grant is a great storyteller, and he brings long-dead Conquistadors and Natives to life on the page, as much as he does the modern day nomads he meets in his travels...truckers, hitchhikers, RVers, etc.

A few times while reading, I've been reminded that my own deep desire to travel has been with me my whole life. My parents used to take us on long trips, usually camping along the way, sometimes staying in motels, and occasionally traveling by train instead of car. I've been told that when I was a year old, my parents camped with four kids from Minneapolis to Seattle and back, and I was teething the whole trip. Mom and Dad took turns rocking me in my baby buggy in the tent throughout the night. While we traveled during the day, the station wagon was piled high, with the upside-down buggy on top and the dishpan held firmly between the wheels. I guess more than one other traveler observed that my parents had brought everything, "including the kitchen sink!"

We took equally extensive trips just about every year while I was young, and I think it planted a seed or awoke my inner Viking or something. Then when I was about 10 years old, my folks bought a lake cabin in Wisconsin, and our vacations then consisted mostly of "going up to the lake," as they say in Minnesota. It was lots of fun, and we got out of town much more frequently--sometimes nearly every weekend throughout the summer, with several week-long stays mixed in. But going the same place all the time didn't satisfy my wanderlust. While I was a junior in high school, I asked my parents if we could go on one more camping trip before I headed off to college. They obliged and took me to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Throughout most of my adult life, I've been too busy with school, work, and other responsibilities to travel as extensively as I need to. I'm not sure which of the quirky categories of nomads discussed in Grant's book I belong to. I just know that right now, at this point in my life, the urge to travel is very strong and I'm very fortunate that I'll soon be able to get on the road.

I'm beginning to fill in the outlines of places I'd like to go. In general, I'm looking at heading south for whatever remains of the winter once I can get going, and generally just soaking up the sun while learning how to live and work on the road. Then next spring, I'd like to take a trip up the mighty Mississippi and end up in Minnesota, where I was born and where most of my family still lives. I'd like to spend the summer in the Midwest and then head back to the Pacific Northwest next fall to check in with all of my family and friends here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Steps Towards My Goal

Although I don't know when I'll be able to hit the road, I'm working on a lot of aspects of being able to leave...

*Twelve bags of clothing and kitchen stuff went to the thrift store last week.

*I'm accumulating boxes of books in my car that are going to the used bookstore first, then whatever is left over can be given away.

*I'm getting my bulk foods put into unbreakable storage containers, such as tins, Tupperware, etc.

*I'm getting ready to sell the car. I'll get it an oil change before we go to Seattle this week, and then when we get back, I'll put it on Craigslist.

*I'll be closing up my antique store space in Seattle while I'm up there.

*After doing a lot of research and finding a great bargain, I purchased a campground membership that allows me to use all of the campgrounds in the Coast to Coast and Resort Parks International networks for $10 per night. This will give me some places to clean up, catch up on laundry, etc., all over the country, at less than the usual $40 or so that these resort-style campgrounds usually charge per night.

*I've signed up for a table at the flea market near my home for a weekend in December, to get rid of lots of household stuff, furniture, etc.

*I've begun to turn over various volunteer jobs to new people.

*I got a pet stroller for my cat so, theoretically, I can take her outside of the motorhome without losing her...but we'll see about that! I tried making her into a cat that can go outside on a leash, and that was a dismal failure.

Overall, my approach these days is to think things through as I do them and visualize what it will be like to be doing them in the motorhome. This is guiding me in what I should keep, get rid of, replace, etc.

There are some experienced full-timers amongst my blog followers...I'll welcome whatever comments you have that will help me with this process! Thanks!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Revised Expectations

About a week ago, when my 18-year-old kid expressed interest in going to the local community college, I got really excited about the prospect of getting on the road as soon as I can get the kid situated in an maybe around the end of December.

This week, it occurred to me that that's less than two months away, and I have a lot to get accomplished before I can take off. The main thing is, of course, getting rid of stuff. I've already decluttered twice in the past year--first when I left my husband and moved from a 3400 sf suburban house to a 700 sf rental house, then again several months later when my kid moved in with me.

Thank goodness I don't have heavy sentimental attachment to things. I will be sad to let go of a few things, but really my most precious items are journal, a few books, musical instruments, the cat, etc. The biggest things I'll be bringing with me are the things I need to make a living--a laptop, portable printer, an inventory of vintage linens, some art supplies, and a sewing machine.

Even so, there's still lots of stuff to part with! And I'm also not sure that having my kid get into school and an apartment are going to be a slam-dunk. So, I've decided for my own peace of mind that leaving to live on the road full-time by the end of December would be optimal, but it's okay if it takes me longer.

I'm glad I decided to cut myself some slack on the date I'll plan to get going, because I was driving myself nuts! Now I can relax and not feel like I need to spend every minute getting myself on the way. As a result, I've decided to take a little trip up to Seattle to visit friends next weekend. I'm glad I have a chance to get up there, because once I hit the road, I'll be going SOUTH!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Getting Ready to Hit the Road

Less than a month ago, as I began to recover from a long illness that had kept me homebound a lot, I realized that what I really want to do more than anything is to travel. I love to travel, and I can't get enough of it. In the past, my traveling has pretty much been limited to vacations and/or obligatory trips for business or to visit my elderly parents. Spending a few weeks out of the year on the road just isn't enough for me--especially when a lot of my recent travels have been by plane rather than the meandering sort of roadtripping that I really enjoy most.

As it turned out, about the same time I realized my deep need to travel more, other circumstances in my life suddenly made the prospect of traveling full-time more realistic. For one thing, I am in the process of getting a divorce, and I had some money from a property settlement to buy myself a small used RV.

Also, my 18-year-old kid, Sly, is just about ready to leave home. In fact, we are looking for an apartment for Sly right now, and I'll be able to schedule my own departure once that happens.

Originally I thought I'd spend the rest of the winter here and hope to be on the road by springtime. But with Sly's imminent departure, I hope to be on the road sooner. If I can be out of here on New Year's Eve, I'll be delighted! I'd love to be heading south to spend the rest of the winter somewhere other than the Pacific NorthWET. My goal is to spend New Year's Eve playing bingo for really big stakes at Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville, Oregon, on my way to California.

Fortunately for me, I've been successfully selling stuff on eBay for many years. I used to sell all sorts of antiques and collectibles, glassware, pottery, housewares, etc. But a few years ago, I decided to limit my auctions mostly to textiles, because scarves, linens, fabric and such can be stored flat in a small space and they won't break in the mail. Since I started specializing in vintage ladies' designer silk scarves a few years ago, my eBay business has been better than ever.

Right now, I'm starting to practice doing my eBay business out of a small space so it won't be any big shock when I am working from the RV or from various coffee shops with free wifi along the way. I've got all of my packing supplies in one large tote and all of my inventory in another.

I'm planning to remodel the RV interior so there will be places for these two totes, plus the two I'll need for the sewing and other crafts that I'll be doing along the road. The current configuration of my Toyota Dolphin's interior is very cute and great for casual weekend camping. But I'm going to have a big work table built in with storage space beneath it, plus I'll be replacing the dining area chairs and table with a restaurant-style booth with storage under the seats. The table will drop down onto the seats to convert into an extra bed for when Sly or one of my friends comes to spend time with me.

I've been spending lots of time investigating free and cheap places to stay. I hope to break up some of my camping out with occasional housesitting gigs. I'm also hoping to meet up with some more experienced RVers in the south, maybe at Quartzite or Slab City, to get some help with such things as solar panels. Depending on how things shape up over the next seven weeks, I may just see about getting my interior remodeling done down there, since I understand that's where you can find some really good experienced RV folks to help you out at reasonable prices.

So that's the basic plan, as it stands right now. I'm sure it will be tweaked about a bajillion times. That's okay. Getting ready to go is part of the journey.