Christmas camping

My family always seems to be very busy. Hard to get together for anything. Christmas (2015) was going to be at my sister’s house in Bishop. Both of her daughters and families have moved back to Bishop so all of them were going to be there. Our mother from Arizona was also making the trek. That pretty much meant we should make every effort to get there this year. Also with retirement coming up we don’t know the next we will all be in one place.

It was a go. I got the time off. Since the house was going to be full we had planned on taking the Airstream and staying in an RV park there. Bishop can be very cold in the winter so we figured having hookups would be the best with the trailer. I made reservations. We could even use our heat pump (reversed AC) units to heat. We were going to drive half way to Tehachapi the first night and stay at the Love’s truck stop there. This would make our next leg a much easier drive.

As everyone knows, plans change.

I realized if Bishop was too cold the heat pumps would not work. The limit for heat pumps is around 30-40 degrees. We have been in Bishop in the winter when it got down to 12 degrees! That wouldn’t work. The option would be and electric heater, our propane Heater Buddy or the main furnace. Either way that didn’t necessarily mean we needed an RV park. So I asked my sister if we could park in her driveway and tap on to 15amp power. The answer was ‘Of course’. So we were now staying at the house but not in it.

Our mother was flying from Phoenix, to LAX, to Mammoth the day that we were going part way but that had a hiccup also. Her flight to LAX was just fine but the flight from LAX to Mammoth did not even take off because they feel they could not land due to weather conditions. So she was stuck at LAX. Change the plans. Go down to LAX, pickup Mom, bring her back to Visalia. Leave the next day with Mom and the trailer and do the drive in one day. OK. We can do that.

Luckily, Cindy (sister) thought of her getting on a shuttle that goes to a parking service in Van Nuys. That cut 30-60 minutes from our trip. We left around 5pm and got home around 1am.

The next day we didn’t get a fantastically early start but headed to Bishop with no issues. We got there around 4pm and the ordeal was over. Here is a shot of the mountains on the way:



I was very nice to spend the holidays with the family. As an added bonus our son Aaron and his girlfriend Rachel made it:



Also in attendance was our daughter Hannah and her boyfriend Lukas:



This made us happy to have everyone there. Can you tell?



Everybody survived, even this one:



I tried a variety of heating methods during the stay there. First night was the Dyson Hot/Cold. It didn’t really keep up. Second night was the Heater Buddy. It did well but the canister did not last all night. The final night was the furnace and it was the way to go. Of course it got down to 12 that night! It actually snowed for a bit the first day we were there. You can barely see it in this picture (we even got to stay in a gated community!):


We trucked home directly with no issues nor did Mom have any issues flying back.

Retirement update

The retirement countdown to the left has changed! I am sure about zero people noticed this so I am going to give you an update on our retirement plans. Retirement is still on but with a modification.

My previous retirement was to be 10/24/15. I would have just turned 55 and reached 30 years at my office. The 30 years is important because that would give me fully covered health insurance, no cost to us, for at least 10 year. But the 2015 date was axed for a couple of reasons. Primarily due to the fact that we received a 4.25% COLA for the FY2015, this made a difference in retirement pay! We were also in the middle of building a new building and I am in charge of the technology for that. Also we really still needed a year to start getting rid of things and paying down some bills. It made sense to wait another year.

OK. We add one more year. 10/24/16. No big deal. After all I am still getting paid while I am working. Since setting that date, however, things have got more interesting.

We were always wondering what to do with our house. We are going to start our journeys for at least a 6 month stint but it might be longer. I will never buy, or live, in California again. The state itself is great but with all the taxes, political crap, etc, it is not for us anymore. We will be selling the house in Visalia but as to when?

Normally we would not want our house to sit empty for a long time. We could sell, and will eventually, or have a property maintenance company to take care of it. But we are doing something different.

Our son is going to rent the house from us. He will move in with his fianceé and up to 3 kids every other weekend. That way we can take off when we want. We can also come back to visit as it really won’t be our home anymore, our trailer will be our home. When we come back to visit we still have the trailer parking:

2013-02-05 15.59.37

One thing that has made the move-in a bit more exciting is that they are going to move in next weekend! This means we have spent the last 2+ weeks cleaning out 3 bedrooms in the house (we will be in the master bedroom until we leave) and having a HUGE yard sale.

But how does all this fit in with my retirement date? That has changed a bit also. I have ran the retirement numbers for each month from 6/30/16 to 12/31/16. It turns out that the new date is going to be 12/31/16. There are numerous factors for that. The difference in retirement salary over those 6 months is not insignificant. Check. Roxie also mentioned that she would like to wait until after the holidays for us to start our escapade. Check. More time to get rid of things and get the rig ready. Check. Easier to end my salaried life and start my retired life on a year end/start. Check.

Everything is just falling into place to make this our current plan. So we hope to start our retirement travels on New Years 2017! I have updated my countdown clock on the website and at work:


Hard to wait even that long!