Thank you for sharing your collective wisdom

by Ken Johnston, July 22, 2009 with notes by Shannon in red

In 2004 I read James Surowiecki’s book “The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the many are smarter than the few.” With that in mind, I asked for your thoughts on how to decide whether to settle down in a wonderful community in California, or to continue our extended goal-less vacation.

Your collective wisdom was extraordinary. Your shared your experiences, your visions, and truly wonderful advice. (You can read most of the responses at the end of this note.)

Before I tell you what we’ve decided, I’ll tell you we discovered: we were both leaning in different directions. As your inputs came in we talked over each one and eventually came to a united decision, one different from either of the directions we might individually have taken.

Here’s what we’ve decided:

Don’t rent the house out. As Stanley reminded me, “You don’t need the money,” and several others reminded me that being a landlord is a hassle we don’t want or need.

So, we decided to furnish the house (modestly) and use it as a local home base when we are out west.

We decided that we will probably also buy a modest home base in Florida, because that’s where all our friends and relatives are. (It’s a little lonely out here on the road.) New people flit into and out of our lives as they move on, or we do. Maybe I’ll start exploring Facebook or some other social networking tool so we can keep track of what our new mobile friends are doing.

When we talked to Art Witmer at the Glenridge before we left, he described tours that he and Phyllis had been on. At that point we believed we would just be wandering on our own accord, so it didn't strike a chord. However, after asking you all my question, one response came that got us to thinking. A new good friend that neither of us has met — Dr. Bruce Jackson — who moved into the Glenridge house we moved out of is also an active RVer with years of experience and has been following our adventure. He put us on to one of several organizations that organize adventures and tours. We looked around and signed up for a 6-day adventure in Albuquerque in October to watch the Balloon Fiesta, which we’ve always wanted to see.

Shannon’s note: One of the things I’ve noticed about us is that we tend to set a destination and go there, regardless of what interesting little side trips might be available. So, we’re not good at planning vacations and as a result in the past we've used Tauk and other tours to get us around. Knowing that the same kind of touring is available for RVs just felt like a big relief to me.

We’re getting very excited about the many adventures available without having to do all of the organizing, planning, and scheduling ourselves. Also, our new community has an RV storage lot and an active RV group that plans trips, sights to see, and adventures to explore. That will give us another travel avenue.

To net it out, thanks to all of your inputs, we’ve decided to continue our adventure, go where the wind blows us, and let others do the planning, scheduling and organizing. We’ll keep you informed of our adventures, and we’ll be back in Florida in the spring. We look forward to seeing you and talking about your adventures, and ours.

Thanks for all your good words, your interest in our travels, and your good wishes. It was fun to hear from you.

If you want to read what you and others have said, read on (in order they were received and with a little editing).

Diane Mahan (good friend, used to live in Laurel Oak, now alternates between Boston and Orchid Island, Floriea)

It appears that there is no right or wrong answer here -- just a wonderful choice.

I don't particularly think of myself as a "dreamer", but more of a realist.  My mother always told me that you come into the world alone, and you leave the world alone.  The older I get, the more I understand what she was trying to teach me — you need to make your own way.  What works for one person is not going to work for another — but you know all that.

I think you might get bored over time settling down in yet another gated community and before long I think you might realize that you are back in Laurel Oak II. I do believe that all these communities share the same issues/not all good.  Tom and I have chuckled many times over the similarities between the communties.  We approached our move to Orchid Island very differently — we are less involved.   So by moving to another gated community what are you gaining?  Personally I think it takes a lot of energy to reinvest oneself into another community.  The older I get I don't want to get overly involved with other people's or community's issues.

After reading and rereading your recent blog — I think staying put represents a sort of settling.  I don't think your adventure is over yet (either that or I just don't want to give up reading about your adventures). 

If I had to make a decision rather quickly, I would probably ask myself if I knew I had only two years to live where and how would I want to spend it?  That kind of bottom lines thinking works for me.  I believe if I were in your shoes I would opt for more travel — a winter in Palm Springs sounds like heaven to me.

Best of luck!  Love to you both

Whit Franzheim, tennis buddy and friend from the Glenridge

Unless you want to eventually LIVE in California, I say sell it..and keep traveling in your motorhome.

We had a biggie (plus, dragged full size car)..Bluebird.. for 10 could sleep 6 ugh.....two comfortably....and sometimes that was ONE too many.!!!!  But we really enjoyed motorhoming throughout the US and Canada.  

Keep me posted on how the "vote" turns out. 

Marc Beisler, Ken's nephew, engineer living in Chicago

Funny you should be considering this question at this time. I am also buying some property in foreclosure, specifically to rent. I am guessing the market will validate this investment in not less than three years and not more than 5 years. Of course, if the renting thing works out, I may not want to sell anyway.

That said, none of that has a lot of bearing on what you do except, you are in the mode to wander. If you settle down now, you may not get the urge again. However, the house will be there in 6 months or a year when you could move into it and enjoy SoCal living; even three years when you may decide to sell and reap your reward for being such savvy investors. You could move back to Florida as you are “Florida People” and resume that life.

Also, I don’t think you have put in the minimum amount of time to have properly sampled the Full Timer life or to have exhausted the potential for brain plasticity. 

My vote is for stay on the road. The fact that this is the perfect time to enter the real estate market should not tempt you to stop this glorious experiment you have started.

Whatever you decide, I am sure it will be right and I hope you will keep me (us) informed.

Stan Schear, friend from Laurel Oak, loved going out to dinner with him and wife Jackie

U have the best of both worlds.

Thank Goodness U don't need the money, so do the easiest and smartest.

Furnish, and enjoy, when your not on the road in your motor home.

Use the new home as your base, enjoy for so long, go out for so long, and come back

Go and come as U want, and don't have to worry about how the lessee does or doesn't take care of your beautiful home.

Enjoy your life, while U can.

John Redgrave, good tennis friend from the Glenridge; used to be mayor of Longboat Key

Move on while you can.  There is much in front of you and your past is well recorded.  John

Randy Long my nephew; lives near Milwaukee; sells Macs for a living; my kind of man

Thanks for the feedback request! I think we all need to ask for help sometimes. I ask God for help, but I'm not sure he listens. From the perspective of the Men's group I'm involved in, how do you feel right now? (afraid, angry, sad, or happy?) I suspect maybe some of each exist in your "parts". Another thing we investigate is "what's at risk". Sometime after asking these questions of ourselves and going down two different paths, I've found they lead to the same place. Lastly, from a Jungian perspective, the king archetype in me wishes you peace on your journey, and hopes the little boy part in you enjoys the ride. (no, no, not like Michael Jackson).

Tom and Nancy Borman, in-laws of Ken's son Chip; alternate between Colorado and Tuscon area

Well, the deed is done, so if you are unsure what to do with the property, I’d just fill it with inexpensive Walmart and Ikea and rent it out till values come back up again.  At that point, if you have had enough of traveling around, fill it with what you like and bounce back and forth between the two coasts…that way the “ruts” don’t get too deep.

Barb Glanz, good friend of over 50 years; lives in Sarasota, travels the world

I think you should rent and continue your adventure. This is once in a lifetime and you may never be able to do it again. You can always go back to the house and a normal lifestyle. I must admit I thought you were a bit wacky at first, but now I envy your absolute freedom. In fact, I will be disappointed if you settle down already! :-). You know, though, I am a dreamer...... Will be VERY interested in the choice. Whatever it is, I will love and support you..

Randy Gawlik, Barbar Glanz's son-in-law

Do both!  Follow the wind, but come back to home base to recharge your batteries.

Mary Manegold good friend and dinner partner from the Glenridge

i think you asked advice from all the people in Glenridge...  I, for one, don't know what to say.. I think it is absolutely up to you and Shannon.  Hou seem to have made good choices so far in your life and I trust you to continue doing so.   I think in the long run, you will do what "feels right"  whether that is house or float some more....If you rent, you can do both for a while  I just don't know. lots of love to you both

Patsy Reynolds, super tennis player from the Glenridge

George and I can't give you an answer.  If it were us we would be in that house so fast that you wouldn't be able to catch it on tape.

But it's not us, its you guys.  With that in mind, I think that you should follow the yellow brick road wherever it leads you.

Peter Mitchell, Ken's nephew ex-Marine major now works at hugh-hush government stuff; lived in the Green Zone; should write a book about it

What a wonderful crossroads you find yourselves in. I say rent the house to a responsible Marine officer (they're legion in Oceanside) and keep on rolling along! Just please don't leave before we have dinner tomorrow night! (I'll send an e-mail later today. I'm in Foothills Ranch today, and the weather here in Southern Cal is fantastic!)

Dick Woltman, Ken's tennis friend of 30 years; doubles' parter for over 10 years; lives in Tampa and heads up Bay Area Legal Services

My input: You have had many years of comfortable and stable life . Continue the adventure and exploration until you no longer look forward to the next day and then settle down You will have lots of years left of the comfortable rooted life after the urge to wander is satiated.

Nancy Stearns, good friend, mother of Chip, lives in Tampa

Here are my two cents ... rent the house, make your killing when the time is right and stick to your original plan continue to do what you set out to do....remain lose and free of the usual and regular way of life that so many of us remain in because we have no other options.  You are lucky because you have options..whichever you select I am sure will work.

Bruce and Alice Dubois, good friends and next door neighbors in Laurel Oak

Ken/Shannon, Continue the road less traveled, at least for awhile You can always return to your new found real estate venture. We don't often have the opportunity you have created for yourselves --- it is too early to settle down when there are so many other options you want to explore and you have the perfect opportunity to continue to amaze your friends!!!!   Best wishes

Lisa Johnston, our daughter-in-law and mother of our two grandsons

Well, I vote for the endless vacation.  You’re un-encumbered for the first time in your lives, you’re healthy, and financially fit.  See the country, or the parts that appeal to you.  I’ve traveled all over the US, and what most people don’t realize is how incredible our nation is.  You have the opportunity to see it all for yourselves, and to meet new and interesting people.  So go, be free, and when you’re ready, the house will be waiting for you.

Maje and Sid Wasch, tennis players and good friends from the Glenridge

Ken -  Here's what comes in loud and clear: you ran away from what you had both in Laurel Oak and here at the Glenridge and wanted something new and different. So what do you think will be new and different in living in Escondido? You'll have the same rut you were in here but in a different location. Sure, you'll do the self same things that  you did here - but do you want that? Isn't that what you got away from?

It's so hard for any of us to advise you on what to do. It's purely individualistic. Each of us have different needs and goals for a happy life. Pulling up stakes on the east coast for the self same thing on the west coast is not our idea of "change".

For us, at our age - we love having a "place to hang our hat" so to speak - and take three or four trips a year anywhere we please for however long we wish. This gives us something to look forward to, as well as having roots to come home to.

Actually, you can do this with your new place by spending half the year "wandering" and half the year "at home".

Best wishes whatever you decide to do - but we do hope to see you again sometime in the fuiture.

Jim Martin, good friends from Laurel Oak

Sounds like you’re doing what most rational people do--------over thinking the deal!!!  It’s a double win and as they say winner winner chicken dinner. Just follow the HAWK!  I know, I should have abstained.

Linda Habif, good friend and tennis player from Laurel Oak

You made the decision to buy a camper and travel the country, and spend time with Shannon's boys.  Do it!!!  Rent the house and hire a manager while you travel.  See those Northern parts that interest you.  If you get tired of travel, then return to San Diego and enjoy that luscious weather.

I would rent the house for a year with the proviso that you may want it after that.  See the sites.  Montana (Glacier National Park), Idaho, and Wyoming (the Teton's) are phenomenal.  David and I camped thru all those states in a tent in 1971.  I wouldn't trade that experience for "all the tea in China".  See it while you are healthy and can do it.  Send us pictures.

Andy Fischer, son and movie mogul

I think Eric and I are so biased that you KNOW what our response would be!

Don Golliher, Ken's second cousin on his mother's side

I have enjoyed reading your pursuits across the southern U.S..  And I was getting ready to write you regarding same when this email happened along.

First let me state that my original concern was that you were taking things too fast.  In no time flat you were all the way across the country.

Did you spend some time in the Cajun country, like New Iberia? Follow the Natchez Trace? Explore the Mystic Caverns? Aztec ruins in New Mexico or the Canyons of the Ancients?

You could spend weeks at the Grand Canyon & Lake Mead and never think once about Las Vegas.


If you bought it for the investment opportunity that is fine.  But don’t let it dictate your life.  It is just real estate and life is no dress rehearsal.

I say go.

Go, Go Go!

There is a town in British Columbia named Kelowna. It is nestled in the valley between the Coastal (Sierra) and the Rocky Mountain ranges.  Stop at Mt. Hood on the way.  Get to Halifax by springtime.

Would hate to see you miss the fall colors in Vermont but there is always next year.

Find the best place to sit on a dock with a bottle of Cabernet.  The Iowa State Fair is coming up.

Let us all live vicariously through your travels.

Everyone on your email list has a special place to tell you about; somewhere that you would never discover without their input.

Some of us, myself included, might even want to travel there and meet up with you!

For every day you spend in the moose, spend 10 in the mouse.

Make North America your backyard.


Ruth Johnston, Ken's first cousin and our good friend from Sarasota; she runs Laurel Oak

I truly believe that you took off on this adventure for a reason and the reason was not to find a place in CA to live – I think you wanted to grow and learn – the thing you both do best and you should stay with that plan…for at least a year.

I remember when I moved to Florida and hated it…. I was griping to a woman I’d met from NJ and she said she felt the same way but after a year went back to visit her friends and found them “stuck”.  She told me to give it a year and guess what – it’s been six and half years in Sarasota plus a year and half in Clearwater….

I would love to be doing what you’re doing but I think you need to give this life at least a year – advice to me --- then check in again – there’s tons you haven’t experienced out there and you two are perfect for doing it together…

Bottom line, I vote with cousin Donny

Love you both and whatever you decide is good with me – despite the fact that you got me here and guess what? I love it LOCA…

You do what’s best for  you – it’s just I remember packing you up from two places in the past two years….you’re doing just great…even though I miss you both so much

Glen Walls, Cousin Ruth's brother-in-law, married to her sister Sharon

If you're hoping for an objective analysis of the pro's & con's from Sharon and me, you can delete this now.  This decision is more about the Affective domain than the Cognitive.  You're at a time in your lives where what you would rather do takes precedence over what might be "better" for your body. You can exercise and eat properly while traveling.  You can play tennis most anywhere you stop.  Travel to new places, see new things or familiar things from a new perspective.  If it gets overwhelming, slow down for a time and re-group.  Tour New England in the fall...go to a real rodeo in Cody, Wyoming...spend some time in for trout in a mountain stream...spend time in several parts of Colorado..climb around where the cliff dwellers lived in Mesa Verde...etc. 

Sharon and I are in the first few days of a 7-1/2 week "vacation" from Florida.  We saw a stage show this afternoon in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We're on our way to Estes Park, Co...Glacier Nat'l Park in Mt...Banff & Jasper National Parks in Canada and then across Canada through Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg & Kenora before reentering the U.S. at International Falls.  We're staying 2 days in Duluth in an OLD hotel on Lake Superior, then on to Petoskey, MI for 3 more weeks in a rented condo.  We could stay in Florida and keep busy doing things, but we might never again have the opportunity to see the places we're planning to see across the country and in Canada. Our suggestion is to just do what you think you would enjoy most. We've lived vicariously through your previous experiences.  We'll look forward to hearing from you.

Doris Cahill, she and husband Bill long-time good friends from both Laurel Oak and the Glenridge

It is very hard for somebody else to decide for you, or even to advise you. I am the type to travel and see different places-- in limits.-- I also need a place to call home, grow roots and have friends around, the type that I REALLY KNOW---(and that no doubt has to do with the fact that I lost my childhood-home very early and have since lived a pseudo-gypsy-life, which Bills Navy career did not alleviate). If I were you, - and having spent the time, effort and money to get to where you are now, - I would travel a while longer, LEISURELY, seeing the country, enjoying the different cuisines (and wines, in California !) the North in the summer and the South and West in winter, stopping a while here and there - Monterey and Carmel are sooo lovely- checking on the Indians (and get a few turquois necklaces and gourds!!!). Avoid Disneyland and tourist traps, and Kansas in the tornedo-time. See Utah, the Grand Canyon, Vermont in the fall, and definitely go up to New England and Maine to gorge on lobster and to Maryland to feast on crabs. Since you have the house in Calif, rent it out. Your kids can keep an eye on it every now and then, ditto your realtor. and if you should feel the urge to come back to Florida after tiring of travel,you can always sell the house, or you move permanently to California. That's what I would do.

Keep the wind at your back etc. and stay healthy! and let me know what you decided.

Bill Cahill, husband of Doris

Ken, I believe that you and Shannon have been on a fantastic voyage and have learned many things that you wouldn't have learned if you had not taken this cross country trip. You have just arrived at an important fork in the road and now have to decide whether to bear right or left as you approach this divided highway. If you still have the urge to travel, by all means continue on your travels until you say enough is enough. I do not believe that in the long run you will be happy stopping at this point and moving into a new community where you have to meet new friends and readjust to your usual living style. You have followed this path many times before and it is possible that in a short time you might say "why did we relocate to this particular location".

I believe that your roots are in Florida. My recommendation to you would be to return to the Glenridge. At least 2 club homes will be available in the near future and you would be returning to your many friends and tennis partners. I would also say, keep your new home in California where you can spend a few months a year with the kids. Ken, I think that it is important that you think of your health and of Shannon. Whatever you decide, Dori and I wish you all the best, and do hope that at some point in time that we see you both in Sarasota. Cheers and good luck to you both.

Bruce Jackson, new occupant of the house we left in The Glenridge

We haven't met, but I am the new occupant of your Kilmory home.  Thank you for including me in your wanderings on the web.

As an RV owner (a large one like yours and now a smaller one), my late wife and I have considered your question many times.

Our decision always was based upon our age.  We can sit in the house at any age, but 10 years from now you will not be able to enjoy the open road.  So go for it while you can.  Try a caravan to someplace special.  We took a group caravan to Alaska with Tracks to Adventures.  It was so fascinating that the following year we took another one to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Labrador.  These trips were life events.  Tracks makes all the arrangements; you see and learn lots, you travel independently, but at the end of the day you reconnect with you new friends upon arrival at the campground.  Your new house is about money; the travel is about new adventures.  Go for it.

Marilyn Hosenfelt, friend for a long time both in Laurel Oak and even after they left

It seems to me that the whole point of the motor home was to experience a new life style.  Are you already tired of this new experience?   You can always move into a stationary house.  It will be there when the wanderlust dust has been shaken out of your shoes.  I say rent the place and see what happens in another 6  - 12  months.  Only give the tenants a one year lease.  You may decide that tenants are more work than you thought. Seems that you are rushing into things. 

Mary Fran Carroll, my first-Wednesday-of-the-month lunch buddy, Kilmory neigbor in the Glenridge

Well-it has beensaid that if you don't want a frank biased response, don't ask me

With that disclaimer:

I am stunned at the thought of your real estate caper. You had an anchor here--whether in GR or previous- then you at great expense and effort create the means to a new way of life.  And suddenly, you give way (it appears) to the inner-unacknowledged prior to this --to the need for an anchor.   But that is neither here nor there--What to do now.

I think you should put the house on the mental balance sheet, as an investment, throw some furniture in, put the rental of it in the hands of a local managing agent and keep immersed in your present dream.  I agree with one of your friends who referred to fact that it wasn't much of a real adventure in that you didn't really dawdle and sample all the wonderful things on the way. Maybe you could have gone to a country fair on the way--yeah seen the Grand Canyon--the Painted Dessert--Hot Sags   Holy cats--a thousand things when you have dedicated your time to tasting and savoring as it were

Or aren't you the free unfettered spirit that you thought you were?

Well--you did ask!

Eric Fischer, eldest son and beer expert, guitar expert, audio expert

Yup! We'd selfishly love for you to be here!

Barbara Watson, put up with us as across-the-street neighbors in the Glenridge; a Milwaukee girl who went to same school I did

With your adjustability I'd keep moving.

Guy and Marilyn Berner, Kilmory Glenridge friends and neighbors who love to spend summers in Buffalo

Seems to  me you're moving too fast. You just left Glenridge 9 or 10 weeks ago and now you ask which road to travel for the next 5 years. Why don't you stay with your motor home deal a little longer until you explore other possibilities.  There are lots of other places in the West to settle down or at least look at. The real estate deal can stay on hold as you bought it for a possible investment.

Jeffrey Reed, best fisherman I've ever known; friend of Eric's from Full Sail Academy

In my humble opinion, you can't go wrong hardly ever, investing in real estate. Having said that, I would never in a million years want to be a landlord, much less from afar. You guys are still the coolest for taking on this adventure.

Lori Dunford, my niece and darling friend; lives in Lantana Florida and consults with companies to help them get better at managing people

Wow --

Now that is an existential dilemma, for sure.  Not sure what to say since I've been asking for your advice for 34 years and you've never asked for advice yourself.  I'm guessing that as soon as the traveling part got a little bit uncomfortable (small quarters, minor inconveniences, etc.) you guys started thinking about houses again.  If it were me, I would probably want to have some kind of a "home base" to go to (to get some of my stuff that I needed, spend time in a larger space, etc.) but still venture out on the road. 

If traveling is truly a dream of yours and Shannon's, then don't give up on it just because it's a bit unfamiliar and uncomfortable.  I would probably push through the discomfort to pursue something that was important to me.  When you decided to undertake this venture, you wanted to explore America (like the old Simon & Garfunkle song, "I've gone to look for America.")  You both said you wanted to do that now while you're still youthful, active, healthy and capable of taking on the journey (and hopefully, you'll remain that way for many more years, but none of us have a guaranteed future for what we have now).  So, I guess my vote is to keep on truckin' (a Grateful Dead song)!  Maybe have a home base, like the California house if it can be available for part or all of the year, or a condo in Sarasota (of course, that would be my preference so that you are closer to me)!

By the way, when I tell your story to others, most people admire what you're doing and claim that they would love to do the same some day.  (For whatever that is worth.)

Good luck with this decision.  I think it's great that you're seeking others' advice, by the way.  We can see things a bit more objectively!

You're in the movie and the rest of us are in the audience!

Art and Helen Kuehn, good tennis friends from the Glenridge; best laughing buddies

A conservative approach from eighty year olds

We feel that you made a good investment from what you have told us about the house you purchased in California. You wanted some real estate investment exposure and you have it in this house. We suspect this is a long term investment based on a hoped for economy turn-around that maybe will take a few years to materialize. This will happen whether you rent it or live in it.

From what we have read from your posted e-mails, and we have read and enjoyed them all, leading a nomandic life may get a little stressful if that is all you have. Totally on the go for years might lose it’s luster, because during those years you will also be getting older and accumulating all the joys of being a real senior.

From what we have read:

1.     You wanted an investment in Real Estate and you have it.

2.     You love California and it’s weather

3.     You still have the wander lust

4.     You have some concern about not having a home base for medical and other reasons

If this is correct, it seems to us that you should move into the California House. Use it as home base and travel from there as much or as little as you desire for as long as you desire. Do not spend a lot of money on furnishing or updating the California house because then it becomes an anchor. This represents our best thinking and is worth exactly nothing.

Our selfish recommendation would be that you move back to The Glenridge because we miss you.

Roland (Pleto) Johnson; our favorite uncle on Ken's mother's side; lives in Venice in winter, Williams Bay in summer

I say, "Follow your Heart"!! As for Uncle Pleto, he never strayed too far from Wms Bay, Wisconsin! The only extensive travelling Uncle Pleto did was at Uncle Sam's expense, and then Uncle sam paid for not only travelling expenses, but room and board; at that he was only too happy to get back and nestle into Park Ridge, Illinois which was only a hop skip and a jump from Wms Bay!

The travel bug, the yearn for mucho $$$$ never bit old Uncle Pleto and so it shall remain. To Shan and Ken, again, "Follow your Heart". I'm impressed with how many friends you have from whom to solicit advice.

Barbara Dearborn, wonderful friend and neighbor on Kilmory in the Glenridge

Fix up the house, see how you like living there. Keep the rolling home and go for extended trips. When the market improves, sell the house for a profit and use the rolling home to return to Florida. Summer here not so bad so far.

Jennifer Faile, our housekeeper for over 10 years, then our helper with internet marketing web creation, now retired in Tampa.

If I had to guess by reading about your adventures then I would say you look like you are enjoying it. I saw that Ken is asking for input about what you guys should do, either settle in the house or keep traveling? I would advise you to keep traveling for a little while longer and expand your travels to other states. I think if you settled now you will always say "what if". Plus I enjoy living vicariously through your adventures. Whatever you ultimately decide to do is still your decision though.

Robert Sidlow, Yarnow mover who became fascinated with what we were doing

As your mover, I say ship to California the sooner the better.  The softer more human side of me says – take a bit more time enjoying the adventure – It’s only been 3 months.  Perhaps look into rental furniture for the short term, try living in the new house and determine if you are really ready to stop the trip of a lifetime.

Vi Theroux, friend from the Glenridge

By all means keep moving, there is still plenty of space to explore....Before you know it you will be 80 years old and you will want to relax.. You have plenty of time.

Ginny Tarika, Kilmory neighbor and tennis friend from the Glenridge

Well, I agree totally with the adventurous group - Go see the country - all over!!

There are so many places to visit, spend some time in - even Canada has much to offer - east out to Prince Edward Island and west to British Columbia. Let the free spirit take you wherever and enjoy. We only go around once in this lifetime!!

John Powers, Ken babysat him when he was little; hired him in Chicago when he graduated from Boston, now a lawyer in Chicago.

I love you guys! You are my heroes!! Several years ago (pre-divorce), Alex (my oldest) asked if I thought I would ever retire and, if so, what I would do, besides play golf. I told her one of the things would be to periodically just jump in the car and wander across the country to places I had never been. She said she could see me doing that. In my fantasy, however, probably not an RV (although more on that later), but rather just a fuel efficient car and a lot of Motel 6's.

I read your diary cover to cover. Loved it. Kind of a combination of Jack Kerouac, Charles Kuralt and Car Talk. The logistics of full-time RV life are certainly more daunting than one first imagines. Not necessarily the romanticized simple life, at least not until you learn all the tricks of the trade. As for the current dilemma posed in Chapter 21, I'll chime in with my two cents.

The issue would seem to be how much you miss having a base. Given the (relatively) minor traumas you've experienced with the RV and the bugs that you've had to work out with that lifestyle, the bloom may be a bit off that rose at the moment and make the base concept more appealing. But you've made such a large investment, both financial and emotional, in choosing the nomad life that I think you should continue it at least through the fall and winter. That would give you basically a full year's experience as RVer's, enough to fully evaluate it and, if nothing else, more stories for the memoirs!

I don't know where you traveled when you last had an RV (though my feeble memory makes me think it was mostly weekend trips around Florida and to tennis tournaments), but there are so many places to experience out West. I would visit in the national parks out there myself, and I would definitely recommend going up the Oregon coast. I just got back from my 8th annual golf trip to a fabulous place in Oregon called Bandon Dunes. Not only is the golf spectacular -- links-style courses overlooking the Pacific that make Pebble Beach look almost pedestrian -- but fabulous scenery as well. Lush river valleys with herds of elk on the hillsides, high sand dunes on the beaches, and lots of campgrounds. Great salmon for dinner! We have always had great weather there in June, but they say the best weather is September and October.

My only RV desires involve Mexico. Every year when the girls and I go, Alex and I typically scuba dive in a tiny village about an hour south of Cancun. There is a little bay there and the inhabitants are all ex-pat retirees who have permanently parked their RV's there and built adjoining palapa patios. They dive every morning and then sit and eat ceviche and drink cold beer in the open air restaurant owned by a retired Brazilian soccer player.

So glad that you are both well and instilled with the spirit of adventure. Put me in the database, as I want to continue to follow your odyssey.

From Shannon:

Thank you one and all. I was really nervous about Ken throwing out that question. What if the answer was overwhelmingly something I didn't want to do? As it turned out, many folks said "do both," and that felt just right. (Sometimes I dream about taking a shower where I can actually turn around, so occasionally having a bigger home is a plus.)

Thank you for all of your suggestions of places to visit (I will keep that list and hopefully we can travel to those locations).

But most of all I am amazed at the fact that so many of you are reading our trip and seeming to enjoy it. I am humbled by it. (By the way it won't hurt my feelings if any of you wish to remove your name from the list. I know lots of emails can be a real pain for some people. Just let me know.)

In the meantime we will get some furniture in the house, head to Las Vegas to be with family for the first week in August (yes, we know it's VERY hot then), and continue thinking about where to go next.

We sail on — thanks to you all!

Chapter 23