Trip to Wonderful

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Moving day is here!

Finally, Trip To Wonderful's permanent home is set up. Change your bookmarks to

Friday, May 13, 2005

Travois deux and the Datastorm arrives...

In five separate boxes...the latter, that is...

It took us two months to decide upon our first trailer, the Jayco 25G. We looked at a good dozen different hybrid models before settling, happily, upon the Jay Feather. When we learned of the aforementioned full-timing clause (ironically, on page 18 of the owner's manual), our world was definitely thrown off kilter. D-Day is slightly more than three weeks away, and we have no home.

So for two days we traversed the state high and low, on the hunt for that perfect trailer, and with gross vehicle weight ratings nearing 10K lbs and lengths over 30 ft, these were of a very different breed.

Last night, we ordered a Sunnybrook 3009. With a queen, a full, a twin bunk and queen pull-out sofa, it sleeps the Keebler elves or a medium-large sized family.

I thought that by finally settling on a trailer and tow, I'd banish the anxiety gremlin which wakes me very morning at four. So this morning, while I'd like to blame the pre-dawn street scrubbers (which for some reason PARKED and then proceeded to BACK UP, which that horrific beeping, for a full 10 minutes outside my window), it was the excitement of the pending trip which pulled me from dreamland.

Today, as I drove off to pick up Jonah, my favorite man in Brown arrived with a heap of packages, all addressed to me. It was the DustyFoot datastorm tripod satellite unit, which will allow is to access satellite internet just about anywhere in North America. We broke out the wrenches, and spent the next few hours assemblign and re-assembling. Then we ran out of daylight. Fortunately, tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Bad news and good karma...

A few days ago we learned from the very kind people at RVDirect (our Jayco dealer) that Jayco's warranty policy precluded owners from residing full-time in their vehicle. We've spent the past few days attempting to get a more complete answer, and are still waiting (kinda, sorta.) The latest information is that Jayco deals with such situations on a "case-by-case" basis, which, unfortunately isn't really good enough when you're planning your next 12 months around a bumper-to-bumper warranty.

We are exploring other options, e.g., heavier trailers which explicitly allow full-timing, and to that end had to re-evaluate our tow vehicle options.

We'd mostly settled on a 1/2 ton Suburban or it's GMC equivilant, the Yukon XL. The tow capacity 72-8400 lbs fit well within the range of a lightweight hybrid (the Jayco's GVWR is 5800 lbs.) Heavier year-round tow trailers tend towards the 9000 lbs+ range. So we knew we might have to look for a larger SUV.

When we were exploring the Airstream option, I sent out feelers for a 3/4 ton Suburban (2500 series), to no avail. The closest one I could locate was in New Jersey.

Yesterday, I was randomly calling dealers, still thinking that 1/2 tons were options, when a dealer informed me that the vehicle about which I was inquiring was in fact a Suburban 2500, 4WD to boot. Mileage was pretty good for a 2001, and indicated it had only one private owner. We looked over the car, liked what we saw, and today, bought it.

So where's the good karma?

When Grace was 18 months old, she developed an intussuception, a potentially fatal bowel blockage. Her care at Maine Med was overseen by a team of diligent and competent surgeons, led by a wonderful pair of experts, one known mostly by his nickname, Dr. D.

We learned today that the one owner of our new Suburban was the same Dr. D. who saved our Grace's life (it took three interventions to right the obstruction.) You can't buy better karma than that.

We have our cheval. Time to nail down the travois once and for all.

Friday, May 06, 2005

I've purchased the we need the horse...

Eric joked recently that we should order matching "vanity" plates for the trailer and tow vehicle. After much brainstorming, my suggestion, a nod to his more equine Plains roots (Abenakis used dogs, not horses, as pack animals), was "cheval" and "travois".

Well, yesterday, I bought the travois. A brand-spanking new Jayco 25G awaits us in Buffalo, New York, with an early June due date.

The horse is still a mystery, though we are narrowing the choices.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The countdown officially begins.

Well, 5PM last evening came and went without incident, so now the house is truly sold.

D-Day, 6th of June.

Today, I had a date with a half-dozen late-model Suburbans (with a lone Yukon XL thrown in the lot), still trying to match up our Jayco 25G with its perfect mate. A few decent prospects, nothing which made me open the checkbook immediately, however.

Lunch with my former campaign manager, Tracy and her lovely spouse Josh was sandwiched between stops at the DMV to pick up Jonah's handicapped parking permit. Why two stops? Seems that our pediatrician overlooked checking a box. Thus, the wonderful bureaucrats at Motor Vehicles determined that when someone is applying for a disabled permit, it makes complete sense to make their life even harder, sending them across town for a simple checked box, rather than assume from the lengthy desciption on the second page that a diagnosis of autism indicates a neurological, not ambulatory, disability. Sigh.

Next on the agenda is a follow-up to RV Direct to find out the status of our prospective trailer.

As this post up until now indicates, activities around here for the next few days, perhaps weeks, will be mostly organizational...and dull. Thus, I urge you to head on over to my latest discovered gem of a blog, Travelogue, chronicling the adventures of a family of six, two parents, four young kids, meandering around North America in their travel trailer (having sold their home and stored their possessions.) Gee, I hate when we end up being copy-cats without even knowing it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The pins and needles of home selling

Although we've accepted an offer on the house (two now, actually, and a third waiting in the wings,) we've been subjected to over a week of inspections, appraisals and, sadly, arm-twisting. Seems as though the buyer's broker failed to inform them that freestanding appliances needed to be negotiated in the sale, and thus, neither the 48" Viking range and hood or the high-end KitchenAid fridge were included in the contract. The sellers attempted to rectify this by offering a lower (yes, lower) price, including the appliances, with the hope that although we'd reject the reduced price, we'd "compromise" and happily include $12K worth of appliances in the original price. Since we've rejected that scenario outright, they have until 5pm this afternoon to decide whether to annull the contract. If they do, we go to the next offer, equal to the first, with much less manipulative buyers/brokers. If they don't cancel, they're tied into the contract without appliances, though we might consider selling such, for their market value, of course. (Note: When the buyers first realized their faux pas, we offered the appliances at a very reasonable price.)

The worst of all this is the uncertainty: It's hard to plan an itinerary if you don't know if you'll be on the road June 7th, 27th or sometime in July. It also leads to writers block, as all mental energy is consumed by the ongoing ordeal of negotiating with a party determined to get the very best deal, even at the expense of goodwill.

I'd like to update the sidebar, but I'm still hoping Eric will get around to purchasing the permanent URL. I guess I can just copy the links into their new location. I do now have quite a library of new travel books, including some great Insider Guides for families.