As with most everyone, our plans have completely changed since my last post. With everything going on these days (and with being “stuck” in Palm Springs, California for 6 weeks – but more on that later) we decided to ditch the state of California (what’s the point when Yosemite and so many other national parks are closed anyway?!?!) to ditch our “back out west” plans and instead start our return journey east. To that end we changed our plans (several times) in an attempt to go ahead and return back east sooner rather than later. This decision came about for several reasons, but the two biggest reasons are:
Reason #1: FAMILY Neither Greg nor can I can easily or cheaply fly back to visit the kids and grandkids with the current state of things. And although I was there for the month of December for our youngest grandson’s birth, Greg hasn’t even met him in person yet! (He has met him on FaceTime, but that leaves lots of snuggles to be desired.) I have yet to let 6 months pass since seeing my grandkids and in order to keep up that record – we needed to drive back east since flying is no longer an option.
Reason #2: SAILBOAT Our desire to find our new (to us) sailboat and enter the “Sails” phase of our journey has ratcheted up big time in light of the recent world events. We want to purchase our boat on the east coast and are focused on boats for sale anywhere between the coast of North Carolina and as far south as South Florida. To learn more about what we are looking for, visit our SAILS page.
Reason #3: CALIFORNIA IS TOO RESTRICTIVE Although we were very thankful for being in a beautiful, dry, sunny area – with all their laws and rules growing more restrictive by the day, California is NOT the state that we want to be stuck in any longer than necessary. Being “required by law” to wear a face mask when in public is NOT my idea of freedom…. nor is it acceptable to me. There’s that.
Speaking of California, as I mentioned above we ended up being “stuck” in Palm Springs for 6 weeks. Let me explain. We were in Palm Springs when all the craziness hit and our upcoming reservations were being gradually cancelled one by one. We were unable to make new reservations or get into any of our Thousand Trails membership parks during the lockdown time period, but we were able to stay in place at whatever park we were located. That is actually way more of a blessing than some may realize as all of the state parks (in almost all 50 states!) either closed completely, or if open for day use they closed their campground sections. Add to that the fact that the majority of the private campgrounds and RV parks also either closed completely, or were not allowing anyone new to come in and that can seriously make life difficult. We are full-timers so if we can’t find a site we are up a major creek! Thankfully, when this hit we were staying in a Thousand Trails (aka TT – which is our main campground membership park system that we rely so heavily on) resort. TT recognized that a HUGE majority of their members are full-timers like us and for full timers – our RV is our home! To that end, they have been terrific throughout all of this and although they closed to new reservations, and closed all amenities, they allowed all of their members in any of their parks to stay where they were so they could “shelter in place” and furthermore, they waived all fees and previously stipulated time limitations. It just so happened that we were in the Palm Springs Thousand Trails RV Resort surrounded by blue skies and palm trees at the time. What was supposed to be a 2 week stay (which was the limit for our time of stay there during high use season) turned out to be 6 weeks!
As things started going downhill we realized that our Yosemite and Lake Tahoe plans were toast anyway (and although we loved and were looking forward to spending time in both of these place, we have spent time in both previously, so that made the decision easier), so we made the difficult decision to start heading back east as soon as we could. Not too long ago our oldest son and his wife informed us of their plans to move to the gulf shores of Alabama in June, so that sealed the deal.
Staying in Palm Springs did turn out to be a blessing in more ways than one. Being there for such a long period of time allowed us to get some much needed warranty and insurance work done on our now over 4 years old and starting to show it rolling home. The process and time required to get warranty and other work done when you are a moving target such as we are is such that we had put some stuff off for too long. Also, as we left our previous campground heading to Palm Springs one of our automatic leveling jacks totally broke, and that was not something we wanted to put off. As soon as we arrived we found Hemet RV Supercenter which is a licensed RV mobile repair operation that was approved by our warranty company. With everything that quickly transpired we ended up having them not only fix the jack, but also doing quite a bit of additional warranty work as well. They needed the business so they could stay afloat during this sudden downturn in the economy and we needed the work done. So it was a win-win. All in all, our 6 week layover resulted in a new leveling jack, a new toilet and more… and best of all (and quite unexpected) a brand new roof (due to a tear and leak) which was covered 100% by Geico under our RV/auto insurance policy!
Another blessing was the fact that we were stuck in an area that had the perfect hot, dry climate for my health (Pamela) and one where I could get my daily steps in as well as being biking friendly. Greg could even ride his minibike on trails that went on for miles directly from our campsite. Overall we enjoyed our time there and are extremely thankful that the timing of everything occurred while we were at that specific campground. It was basically about the most ideal location imaginable. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – Jesus loves me!
After we were finally able to get reservations that stuck (which was quite an ongoing process as our reservations were continually being cancelled within days of being procured), we made our way across the southern borders of Arizona and New Mexico to wind up in Texas where we will be for the next few weeks. We are spending some time bouncing around TT campgrounds in Texas before making our way to Alabama for phase one of family visits. Texas feels so much more “normal” than California did (understatement) and as the country is starting to wake up to the reality and ramifications of shutting down an entire economy (I hope?!?!) Texas is on the forefront of businesses opening back up and it’s not as restrictive as many of the other states, so that’s good.
Although I initially intended on only writing a short update, as usual I got wordy. To sum it all up, we are both doing quite well. Greg spends most of his time these days working while I spend most of mine writing (I am working on my health/keto book) and in our free time we are both researching the next phase of our journey (SAILING AGAIN!) and we are always trying to get out and do some sightseeing and playing as often as possible. So we are keeping busy as we continue to work towards our future plans with excitement and fervor. All in all, life is good.
As always, Happy Trails and Sunny Sails and to that I will add…. GET OUTDOORS!