Wherever the Road Leads

Big Changes

 

Change number one, first and frivolous, the color scheme on the web site has been changed to be more in line with the colors of the Alabama Crimson Tide, well on their way to another National Championship. Roll Tide!!

Update… The National Championship didn’t come to pass, and the colors have been changed back.

 

 

Then there’s change number two. A biggie…. not unlike when the major vacation that you planned a year ago finally arrives and you are headed down the jetway to board the plane.

My hare-brained scheme started last summer. One day I heard the neighbor approaching in his pickup, sounding even more throaty than usual. I looked up and saw he was pulling a 30′ travel trailer. I thought to myself that that might be fun, going camping. I wondered if I would enjoy it, or if, in the South’s heat, would I might be trading a comfortable living room for a 30′ tin can with the roof top air conditioner blowing full blast.

The idea grew. I have been seriously considering returning to Canada, at least for half the year. If I reclaim Canadian residency, I get free Medical and oodles of other benefits given out to old folks in a socialist country. But what to do with my house? I can’t rent it just for six months and the housing market sucks, I’d have to take quite a hit.

I thought I’d put it on the market anyway. Once it sold though, and if I’ve returned to Canada, where do I come to during the cold months, to escape the Canadian winter? I thought, if I had a trailer, I could park it on a real cheap piece of land in the boondocks, run power, water and sewer to it and call it a residence. Then I could come down here during the winter.

Well, moving to Canada had meant moving into and sharing my mother’s quite small condo in Toronto, not such a great idea for two very independent people, especially when my mother is still raising me. But wait… I’ll be in Canada during the summer months. If I was to get a trailer, I could become a full-time RV-er. Find a place somewhere near Toronto, visit with family and friends for six months. Then, when the weather gets cold, head south and travel the Southern States.

I was telling a friend about my idea. She thought it was great but said, “If I were you, I wouldn’t sell my house, I’d rent it.” She has had a couple of rental properties for years and years. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

The house across the street from me had just been rented out. I contacted the Property Management firm that handled that rental. When the time is right, I’m going to give it over to them to find me a tenant, collect the rent, watch over the property and send me a check each month.

Today, the time became right. The Property Management Rep just left after placing the sign in the yard. There’s a lock box on the front door. Tomorrow, the house will be listed on the internet as being available for rent.

 

My new home?? Here it is……

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It’s a Forest River Flagstaff 26DS, a twenty-six foot bumper-pull travel trailer which will be affectionately known as “Half-Mast”.

This was not really my first choice but the trailer I really wanted and was available the previous weekend, turned out to be about 500 pounds heavier than my truck is rated to pull. This Flagstaff is two feet shorter and the slide-out contains only the dinette, making it a much lighter trailer.

After deciding that this Flagstaff was the ideal trailer, it was back to the internet to do a search. Dealers had one in Indiana and another in Marion, North Carolina but that seemed too far away. Criagslist had one much closer, up near the South Carolina border, so I made an appointment to see it last Saturday.

It looked good, however as they say in French, it was “Beau de loin, mais loin d’etre beau,” or “Good from far but far from good.” When I stepped inside the trailer, the floor was mushy – soft – meaning it had gotten wet. The owner told me he believed it was because that’s where the slide-out seated itself when not extended. Right.

We went around the back side of the trailer. From the slide-out to the rear had been half-fast painted over with a roller – decals and all – in a green/grey color. I asked what happened and the truth came out. The trailer had been stolen and the insurance company had written it off, paying out to the original owner. This man had bought it at an auction. I asked him if he had a clear title, because in some cases the insurance company will not issue a title. He said he had one. Well, sort of.

His bank held the title. I asked him if he had financed it. He replied, “No.” Sort of. He had used the trailer as collateral on his pickup. So, I could get clear title to this suspect, mushy-floor, written-off trailer just as soon as I gave him the cash so that he could give it to his bank to pay off his truck and clear the lien on the camper.

The last time I ignored this many red flags, I got involved with the Mad Woman from Gatineau and the relationship from hell. I thanked him for his time, wished him luck and drove off.

There had been another listing on Craigslist for the same model… in Clyde, North Carolina. Suddenly, North Carolina didn’t seem all that far away. I called and the trailer was indeed still available, so off I went. It took about two hours, on top of the hour and a half I had already driven. Well, just as when I had taken a different route home from Canada a few years ago, it looked simple on the map. However, once I got into North Carolina, I got into the Smoky Mountains.

Now, it’s beautiful, especially at this time of year. But a mountain is a mountain and you go up one side with the tachometer ‘pert near redlined and then down the other side with both feet on the brake pedal. At 3600’, they were expecting snow during the week, the camper’s owner told me. Snow?? In early November? It’s 70 degrees in Atlanta.

His wife had given me directions on how to find the barn where the camper was located. I got ‘pert near killed twice finding it. These are narrow, windy, moonshine roads that the local rednecks like to do Time Trials on, to see how quickly they can get from “A” to “B” using both lanes round curves. A “flatlander” like me is just target practice. And forget about calling 911. There’s NO cell phone service out here down Copperhead Road.

However, the couple were exceptionally nice and the camper, though unused this season and in desperate need of a good wash, had been very well maintained mechanically, so we made a deal. I gave cash plus a check which will clear this week. Next Saturday, I’ll go back for it, giving the couple a chance to get their personal camping gear out of the trailer.

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I’m serious about these roads, and I’m more than a little concerned about hauling this thing home, my first exposure to pulling a trailer. I travel a twelve mile stretch of Interstate 40 and even in a pickup it’s a little hairy, let alone the moonshine roads back to where this couple lives. Ahmoan ask them if either I hook up to the camper where it is, then HE pulls it through the local roads and I-40, or he pulls it in his truck to a parking lot somewhere and I’ll meet him there. If he can do that for me, it will be a big help, but still leaving a rather daunting three-hour journey the rest of the way.

I thought life was simple after one retires.

I am really looking forward to my new adventure. It’s been a challenge whittling down from 2,000 square feet to 200. It puts in a brand new perspective, the difference between “needs” and “wants”. Over these past seven years – the longest I have ever lived in a single residence – apparently I have had a lot of “wants”.

I have spoken before about admiring the television program during the sixties, “Along Came Bronson” about a guy constantly on the move. It seems the more things change in my life, the more they stay the same.

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Comments

  1. Mike Slevin  November 11, 2013

    Hello Gordon,
    I too am leaving. I am moving back to California this week. How are you?

    reply
  2. gordon  November 11, 2013

    Hey, Mike… good to hear from you! All the best in your move back. Yes, there’s a lot to be said for being around family, isn’t there? I guess you’ve been going through the ‘downsizing’ as well, at your house. I hope you’ll keep in touch.

    reply
  3. Young Lady  November 12, 2013

    Great piece as usual! Enjoyed all the details. Best wishes in your adventure.

    reply

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