Wind up and shake down

We’ve been warned by others with far more experience than we have to be cautious about over-committing our schedule while on an RV adventure. We’re heeding that advice and have committed to only three big scheduled events in the first three weeks of the adventure. The first of these was Memorial Day Weekend, so this post covers our week of meandering and visiting up to that point.

And speaking of that point, life would just not be the same without Stump Sprouts and this annual gathering of friends whom I’ve known from my Boston days, and going back 32 years for Doug. Still aglow from yet another fabulous Memorial Day bike and hike weekend, we realized several of these folks had been at my original adventure sendoff for the cross country bike trip in 1983. Love you guys!

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Bon Voyage!

Thanks and major hugs to Stan and Cyndee for hosting a phenomenal Bon Voyage party for the Destinators! We were sent off in true Mad River Valley style, surrounded by friends who really know how to live.

Still glowing the morning after, we talked about how our friends have impacted our lives and have been unknowingly preparing us for our trip over the past 15 years… Life balance. Work is important, yet there’s more to life than work… Every day needs a dose of play (and a double dose on powder days) to keep us mentally and physically healthy. Thanks to Stan, Cyndee, Dave, Sandra, Barb, Tom, Elizabeth, Peter, Sandy, Tim, Katrina for those life lessons and for helping us launch this adventure!

The Load Out

Maybe the hardest part of packing up and hitting the road is what we’ll leave behind. One of these is this band. Doug and I have been the rhythm section in an ensemble we call the Ira Friedman Project, a group of amateur musicians ‘with a collective obsession for music making’ (piano-man Rob’s words) who have been playing music together twice a week for 6 months. Sure, it’s allowed us to improve our musicianship and expand our repertoire, but it’s also been outrageous great fun and has led to a magical bond among new friends.

As we head out looking for jams around the country, we’ll be missing playing with Rob, John, David, Charlotte, Sally – and of course ensemble organizer, band director and musical coach Ira Friedman.

Guys, we promise to keep playing and learning and jamming while we’re ‘on the road again,’ and the West Hill Sessions can resume in November. Thanks so much!

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Relevant side trip

We haven’t left yet and we’ve already enjoyed an RV related side trip…

When we first started exploring the idea of RVing, we did much research, including internet blogs by people with tons of experience. One of several standouts was by Cherie and Chris of technomadia.com. Their blog posts include many general and technical topics that were important to us. They were highly informative yet warm, funny and let the feeling of an adventurous lifestyle shine through.

We touched base when we heard (via their blog, eh?…) that they’d be in Montreal, and they kindly agreed to meet up. We really appreciated being able to get together with these wonderful folks and thank them live and in person for taking the time to share so much helpful information. We had a delightful visit with Cherie and Chris, exploring Montreal and making new friends!

 

Alternative transportation

Sometimes, RVs tow cars behind them. It comes in handy to park the RV and travel around with a smaller car. On the other hand, the RV can go (and stay) more places without a towed car, affectionately known as a ‘toad.’ (If you don’t get it, re-read out loud…) To tow or not to tow? There are pros and cons for either. We’re starting out without a toad, planning to be creative with alternatives – rentals, Uber, parking, and of course, bicycles. We’ll reassess once we’ve been on the road for a bit.

The bikes are packed and ready to go. They’ll be lovingly known as our polliwogs…

Polliwogs
Polliwogs

RV Mods

In the short time that we’ve owned our motorhome – a 2008 Winnebago View 24J – we’ve made a few modifications that we’re really pleased with. These include replacing the “house” radio/CD/DVD player in the galley with a framed photo of our backyard and installing a unit into the dash that can handle all of our media needs; adding swivel adapters to the seats up front; installing USB power outlets here and there; and a handful of power-related upgrades.

This is kind of a geeky post, so if that sort of thing interests you, do keep reading – if not, you’ve already got the gist of it.

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RV drum kit

People have asked…

Yup, we probably could fit a full size drum kit into the RV. But then we’d have to bring a tent to sleep in, and that’s not gonna happen.

I found this concept on the internet, accumulated the odd, used and spare parts over the past year, and built my RV drum kit.  Test drove it last night.  It’s perfect!

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A good sign?

When people ask where we’re going on our upcoming adventure, we honestly say ‘we don’t know.’ What we do know is that where ever we go, we’ll be looking for opportunities to play music with others. Not quite sure how we’ll find the others – we figure we’ll figure it out…

So we stored the RV for the winter in a hangar at the little local glider airport. When we stopped by to retrieve it, we were chatting with Paul, the pilot who owns the hangar. He naturally asked where we were going and got excited at our usual response. ‘Hey, I play bass!’ Two hours later, we were jamming at the house…

Here we are day minus 30 plus or minus of the adventure and we’ve already had our first RV-related jam session! Guess it won’t be that hard… A sign of things to come?

The Crunch

Yes! Our rolling home has been freed from winter storage. We hooked up the batteries, checked the tires, started ‘er up and drove off. Awesome!

Now the crunch begins – five weeks to get the stationary house ready for a house-sitter, de-winterize, clean, service, and load up the rig (also fix a couple of things and make a couple of mods), check over the bikes & make sure the new bike rack works, pack up the instruments, check our total weight (and figure out what stays behind? Hope not!), say goodbye to everybody, and hit the road.

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