Tuesday, July 28, 2015

We are on the road

So the house was supposed to close Monday, Salvation Army could only pick up the furniture on Thursday which meant that we would have to be camping in the rig in the drive until the house closed.


We called the realtor who called the escrow company, who said we didn't need to be present for the closing so long as we had an internet connection.

So we decided to leave either Thursday evening or Friday morning depending on when the drapes we ordered for the rig arrived as they were supposed to be delivered Wednesday and of course weren't.

The Salvation Army said between 10 and 1. The place we ordered the drapes from said 10 days plus 2 days shipping.

Neither of them were accurate. Salvation Army showed up at 2pm and the drapes never arrived at all. Irate calls to both resulted in the truck for the furniture showing up and a vague "We'll call the manufacturer of the drapes"

The drapes couldn't be shipped until Monday which didn't help so we asked our friend Marsha to call at the factory and pick them up and we'll call when we're in a place for a week or so and she can ship them to us.

We left.

We could be in Yuma in 4 hours. I had to stop after 50 miles and re-tighten the wheel nuts after the tires were replaced. We thought we'd stay at the Escapees RV park in Yuma but when we got there they were closed for the summer! As it was 100+ degrees maybe it was a wise decision. We found an Encore park that was open and just hooked up the electrical so we could have the AC on. It was a hot sticky night.

Saturday we set out for Congress AZ and another Escapees Park. Just North of Wickenburg. Nice park but 105 degrees!! Luckily it cooled off around 8pm which coincided with the end of a game of "Hand and Foot" with new friends in the clubhouse. 

We'd never heard of it either but the 4 nice ladies who helped us learn were a real treat. They were delighted that we'd been full timing for a day and a half. They'd all been full-time for at least 10 years.

We found we had  5 random TV channels. To make up for it the park has a terrific book and DVD library. The suggestion is "take what you want and donate them to the next Escapee Park you stay in.

What a cool philosophy 

We explored Wickenburg (Although we have been here before for RV Boot Camp last year.). We took a drive up to Prescott and tried to find the components to make another lighting cord for the "Toad" after we tore the last one up doing a U turn thru a convenience store and grounded out the tow bracket on a sharp curb, We've been there done that already so we need to come up with something better.

Whiskey Row Prescott AZ

Monday came and we hung around all day waiting for the closure on the house which never came. By 4.30 I was calling the realtor and the escrow company. Turns out the seller's mortgage company hadn't completed their paperwork in time so it might be Tuesday or even Wednesday before the thing gets done.

We went to the office and extended our stay for 2 more days (Hey we're retired right no hurry) and went back to Prescott to explore some more. Then back to camp for the evening.

"Methuselah a huge Suguaro Cactus in the RV park that dates back to around 1600

When exploring the 5 TV channels we were getting I discovered that I'd unplugged the amplifier for our antenna at some point. When I plugged it back in we had 27 channels! The wonders of modern electronics!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Up and down again

Our dream has been to go full time in our RV. We've been working towards it (perhaps unknowingly at times) for about 10 years.

The last step has been to sell the house in San Diego.

We selected a realtor based on a neighbor's recommendation and the fact that he only took 2% commission. Most realtors take at least 21/2% and on a $400,000 sale that 1/2% adds up!

Enter David Kornbluth of Pledge Realty www.pledgerealtygroup.com

David's approach was somewhat different. He had the house appraised BEFORE putting it on the market, then listed it $500 below the appraisal. We were a little leery as the appraisal was $25K below what we'd seen on similar properties.

David also listed it with ZERO commission to other realtors which we assumed would mean nobody would be bringing clients from other agencies.

Our fears were soon washed away when we had the first open house and we had 6 offers straight away and only 1 below the asking price.

The one we chose was a "Flipper" who offered a cash deal and no realtor fees. That brought the effective selling price up to 427K. 27K above the listed price.

We were over the moon especially as he wanted to close in 10 days and did his own home inspection immediately and expressed delight in the condition of the house.

Unfortunately he then spent a week and a half asking all kinds of questions about a plumbing leak we'd had 7 years ago and finally backed out on a technicality the day he was due to sign the paperwork.

To say we were depressed is not an exaggeration.

David held another open house the next Sunday and we immediately had an offer for $427,500. This one would involve another realtor but he accepted 2% as commission and that would be as good as the cash offer we'd almost landed the week before. The way they work their commission is to find out what the seller wants then they add the cost of their commission to it and get the buyer to pay that total as the buying price.

The new buyer had a lot of cash and wanted to move in by August 1st. That gave us 21/2 weeks to finish the clean up and furniture sales we'd started frantically when we got the cash offer. 

The previous deadline was going to be really tight so we'd pre-arranged the disposal of a lot of furniture/motorcycles/vehicles. All we had left was some art stuff, a TV stand, sofa, bed and headboard and my Goldwing motorcycle that hadn't sold yet. Everything else we'd moved back into the house from the RV.

We signed the escrow papers and they wanted to close July 27th. We had a home inspection and termite inspection. The buyer didn't require any repairs based on the home inspection but the termite report showed termites and some rot in the patio structure and a little in the eaves of the house totaling about $3800 per the termite company. We agreed to pay for those.

I placed an ad on Criagslist for the Goldwing and after a few false starts a gentleman bought it for my asking price. He got a good deal I believe, The our friend Ken who had taken a lot of our stuff already and wanted my truck asked if we would give it up before the end of the month as his wife had lent her car to her daughter. So we ended up selling the motorcycle and truck in 2 days. We also got a nice dinner with Ken and Gloria and an invitation to a party next Saturday!!

We made a day by day calendar listing things we needed to do and what days we needed to do them. Then I got the printer/scanner out and we started scanning all our old photo albums that we don't want to lug around in the RV. The special ones will go to our daughter in UK when we ship a trunk of family mementos to her.

2 new tires for the motorhome an oil and filter change, chassis lube followed by re-balancing the tires on the Fiesta got us up to date on vehicle maintenance.

We're waiting for the buyer's finance company appraisal of the house and their confirmation that the loan is thru then we can get on the road.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

First travel blog

So here I go for my first TRAVEL blog.
That is a travel blog where we aren't going to an organized event anyway.

To me the travel type blog is what it's all about. I just like them.
They let you into the "secret", share the places we'd all love to see and the things we'd like to do.
I've been an avid blog reader while dreaming of becoming that full-timer myself.

Not that we're full-timers just yet, but it's getting durned close. In fact today may well be the day that determines exactly when we hit the road. The potential buyer of our house has until tomorrow to make up his mind then we move on to the next offeror. A flurry of offers and counter offers should see it done one way or the other.

Which brings us to where we are at the moment. Lake Moreno County Park in San Diego County. Located about 80 east of San Diego not far from I8. Take the Buckman Springs exit and follow the signs on "Old 94" towards Campo. Lake Morena Village and Lake Morena County Park are about 7 miles down the road.

Reservations are made at: 

Cost is about $30 a night. It's partial hookups with a dump station in the center of the park. The big news is that they are in the process right now of adding sewer connections for all sites and 50 amp connections too, so perhaps in 2016 it will be full hook ups. The ranger says it will cost an extra $5 a night once the facilities are active.

The lake used to be much larger but a decision was made to keep it at about 5% of it's capacity. The rest was drawn off to feed Otay Lake which is San Diego's major reservoir. 

There are still boat ramps and good fishing here, one of these days I really must break out my fishing stuff and make use of it!

Fairly flat and with shade trees, the park is simple and I think appealing. We're here June 29th thru July 3rd and it is very quiet right now. I expect it will be a lot busier for the July 4th weekend. We stayed here last year for the Labor Day weekend and it was at capacity but still quiet.

Within walking distance of the campground, in Lake Morena Village, is a little store that packs in everything you can think of and has a HUGE selection of beer and booze. They also do sandwiches etc if you need them. There's another small market about 1/2 mile down the road with a gas station, but there isn't much else close by so stock up before you get here.

One story associated with the park is of Charles M Hatfield a "Rain Maker" who was hired to make it rain after a 4 year drought in 1916. If he filled up Lake Morena he would be paid $10,000.

His rain making skills were apparently amazing as they had 35" of rain and 14 people died!!

He didn't get paid either.

We went walking this morning to the corner of the park where the Pacific Crest Trail comes thru. Quite a fascinating trail which leads all the way up to the Canadian border. Some walk. We met a couple up in Oregon a couple of years back who had walked from here in around 6 months. They were determined to do it end to end. Their most urgent priority on reaching a store after weeks in the wilderness was to recharge their cell phones!!

Having set foot on that trail I can now claim to have been on the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.

While we were walking I heard the distinct "Put. Put" call of wild turkey, and right in front of us between two trees was a big Tom calling his hens. We watched as four hens came out and he spread his tail and puffed up his chest to display for his "Harem". They weren't in the least skittish and we watched from fairly close up for several minutes until they wandered off into the trees.

Not far from Lake Morena is Campo where there is a railroad museum and you can take a train ride. It's a diesel not steam but the carriages are old so there's a good atmosphere. The train used to go to Tecate in Mexico but a tunnel failure prevents that trip now.