Year 1 Day 21 It’s In the Genes

I am very fortunate and married well.  My lifemate, Mary Margaret, is as adventuresome as I am and maybe even a bit more.  While she is a “nester” and loves her home, she has discovered that she can get the best of all worlds by living on a mobile platform and taking her home with her as she explores exotic places and meets very interesting people.  This pairs well with the mentality that my parents, Don and Anne, instilled in their 5 kids.  While my parents have passed away, as have my oldest sibling, Doti, and my middle sibling, Dwight, my two other brothers also have the wanderlust built into their souls.

My older brother, Don, also married well as his wonderful wife, Debbie, enjoys exploring and meet new people too.  They have a 40-foot Grand Banks trawler called “Change of Latitude” up in the Pacific Northwest and they sail the waters of the San Juan Islands and the inland passage to Alaska.  Their boat is beautiful as they have shared it with us a few winters ago.  Don is in the process of retiring from his position as a Distinguished Chair at the University of Connecticut and they have just bought a gorgeous house up in Blaine, Washington.  They will be moving out there this coming spring.

My youngest brother, Del, has led a dual life oscillating between working full time and being a nomad full time.  During his nomad years, he just jumps into his pickup and takes off, exploring the North America while living out of his truck.  Amazing!

They both have very exciting blogs and I encourage you to check them out.  I have added a widget to the sidebar of our blog where you just need to “click” and be whisked away to their lives of adventure.  Enjoy!

Year 1 Day 20: It’s All About The People

One of the main reasons we love to travel is it gives us the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.  Our ten years of sailing around the world really restored our faith in mankind as everywhere we went, we met people who were kind, generous and just plain nice.  Before we sailed, we had a rather biased perspective having watched all of the horrible things that the 24/7 cable news shows focus on.

We discovered that while there is evil in the world, the vast majority of people are very considerate, kind and are just trying to make the world a better place for their families and future generations.  This discovery has had a major impact on us and we now view things with a fresh perspective given our firsthand experience with reality.

Given how polarized the US has seemed to become given the current political situation, we are anxious to see if this has impacted how people interact and discover what concerns they have and what they are doing about it.  We have hope that our faith in mankind will be maintained.

Our first set interactions at our first boondocker’s stop has been wonderful.  Our host, Richard, decided to join so he could pay his good fortune forward and help others enjoy life and experience living in the Arizona desert.  He has been so kind, generous and interested in helping in anyway possible.  To return his kindness, we hosted him and his former wife, Utta, to dinner.  While no longer married, they are still the best of friends.

Mary Margaret spent last night whipping up her delicious spaghetti sauce and then letting it steep overnight in our Quarter Acre pot.  Utta brought a killer salad she tossed together once she and Richard arrived. We enjoyed their company very much as we got to know them over a nice bottle of wine that Richard brought.

As anticipated, the meal was fabulous and was only outdone by the companionship we all shared.  We ended up getting a tour of Richard’s house, which they both had decorated beautifully.  Each room had its own theme and each room was filled their beautiful artwork that they had painted and furniture that Richard has built.  Utta is a very talented artist and while Richard modestly denies it, he is also!

We ended the night sitting outside overlooking their pool and the stars in the dark sky, while the girls talked and laughed and Richard and I enjoyed some scotch and some Cuban cigars.  It was a great end to a great evening.

This is the view of Richard’s backyard which is an oasis in the desert.

This is the back part of his beautiful house.

This is where we are able to park the Beast (which my cousin Bill has suggested we name LeuC).  We are able to plug into 30 amps of power and hook the hose up to Richard’s water.

Year 1 Days 6 – 19: Making The Transition – Part 5

To get to our Boondockers host’s estate, we had to drive down a narrow dirt and sandy desert road, squeezing by saguaro cactuses, mesquite trees and various shrubs with sharp spikes all trying to reach out and scratch our new home. We also had to maneuver around various sharp curves and deep ruts in the road. While not actually off-roading, it was a close second.

Once we arrived at our host’s estate and set up our RV (i.e., leveled the RV, extended the slide outs which expands the width of our living room and bedroom, plugged into our host’s power and hooked up into his water system) we breathed a big sigh of relief. Whoo Hoo! We have arrived safe and sound.

We are ending up spending a couple of weeks here. During this period, each day we worked long, hard hours. We first had to learn as much of the ins and outs of the RV. There are so many systems, each very complex, that it takes a significant amount of effort and patience to learn where all of the controls are and how to operate them. We also had to outfit the Beast and each day we used our little Fiat to run to various stores buying everything from groceries, to pots and pans, silverware, glasses, a BBQ, propane tank, tools, a living room rug, etc., etc., etc. We also spent hours and hours trying to get our DirecTV system to work. Dealing with ATT/DirecTV over the phone has been a totally frustrating experience and really unnecessary. They have not fully integrated their two systems as it seems their right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.

Each day has ended up being a busy day and we must admit, we are exhausted. Along with working hard to turn our new RV into a home, we also juggled our time with our daughter and her family’s time. They are also very busy, working full time and raising three very active young ones. Thus, we had to drop what we were doing to run over to their house whenever the time was right just so we could see them and help in cooking diners and playing with the grandkids.

We also had to shoehorn into our schedule a driver’s class at the Southwestern Truck Driving School. This class was about 5 hours and it helped a lot as we learned how to back the RV, slipping into various tight spots. Mary Margaret was the champ at doing this. Whoo Hoo!
We also had to drive the RV over to La Mesa RV here in Tucson. There are a number of small things that needed to be replaced or adjusted which included ordering a new windshield as ours was chipped when they drove it from the factory in Alabama to the Mesa, Arizona lot. The windshield has been ordered and we will return to La Mesa RV this coming Monday so they can install it

This transition from living on a sailboat to living in an RV is just about over. We hope to start our first real trip sometime next week where we will drive over 1000 miles to go up to Denver, Colorado to see Mary Margaret’s High School friend and our son-in-law’s brother. Once we have seen our friends, we will turn around and head back west as we need to be in Southern California in early November for dental appoints and seeing friends there.


Year 1 Day 5: Making The Transition – Part 4

Boondocking: free camping, generally out in the boondocks.

Until we were getting ready to buy our RV, boondocking was a term that we were totally unfamiliar with. It is defined as  If you had followed our sailing adventure, you know that we abhorred anchoring in bays or harbors where there were a lot of other boats. We simply enjoyed finding remote islands, dropping the hook and exploring places which were well off of the beaten path. This mentally is still with us now that we have moved into a RV.

As it turns out, this mentally is embraced with a passion by other RVers such that a whole society of “boondockers” exists. In fact, there are a number of websites where people who wish to boondock can find sites to camp, many of which are well off the beaten path.


One website, founded by Andrew Koransky, is called With this site, you just plug in the coordinates that you wish to visit and a listing of boondocking sites pop up. Another website is called This site is the creation of Marianne Edwards and her daughter, Anna Maste. With this website, you can find thousands of people worldwide who are willing to host you on their property. Some places are on farms, others on ranches, other on estates, some are just on the street in front of their house. It is a wonderful way to travel and meet people who are typically RVers themselves and wish to “pay it forward” by offering a place to stay for a short while.

Since the concept of staying in an RV park is a bit abhorrent to us, this concept of boondocking is right up our alley. In fact, our very first place where we are currently staying is on an estate just north of Tucson which we found on We have been here almost 2 weeks while we outfit our new home. I will share with you more information of where we are at this coming Monday as we are having our host and his ex-wife (they are still best of friends) over for dinner Sunday night. He and I have already spent a few evenings sipping Scotch and smoking a few Cubans and discussing life in general. It has been great! When they come over I will take their pictures and post it so you can meet them also. They are very nice and friendly people!

I have taken some pictures of our bedroom and master bath in our new home. I post them below.

Here is the back end of our RV.  You walk through the solid cherry sliding door, leaving our kitchen area and entering our bedroom.  When you pass through the bedroom, you enter our bathroom.


Our bed is a king size bed which is motorized so you can tilt it up to watch TV.


In bed, you face the entertainment area and lots more cabinets to store things.  We still have the day and night shades down over the window to the right in order to keep the hot desert heat out.  We have three air conditioners/heat pumps to keep our interior nice and comfy.


I have now stepped into the far back our of RV where our bathroom and hanging closets are located.


Here is our nice shower.  It has two different shower heads!


This is our sink area.  We only have one sink since we opted for a bigger closet.  The closet even has a built in safe.


We even have a washer and drier in our bathroom.




Year 1 Day 4: Making The Transition – Part 3

The long awaited day where we were to actually take possession of our new home had arrived.  However, it was not to be a simple “sign the papers and drive off the lot” experience.  Since our legal residence is Sioux Falls, South Dakota (we have actually spent a few nights there over the last 10 years), we had to take possession of the Beast outside of Arizona to avoid paying both Arizona and the City of Mesa taxes.  The closest out of state location was Blythe, California, a “mere” 170 away.

Since we would be the ones driving the RV back from Blythe to Mesa, AZ, so we could pick up our car and continue on to Tucson (where our daughter, Christina, and her family live), this meant we would first have to learn how to drive a 40-foot-long, 40,000-pound beast down the freeway and over city roads without knocking over stop signs, fire hydrants, and other vehicles that would be zooming past us.

To become “expert” drivers, we both had a crash course (excuse the pun) that taught us the basics of being truck drivers in two hours.  As a comparison, most newbie truck drivers take a two intensive week course before being let out onto the open roads.  Watch out world, here we come!

We then followed our RV to Blythe in a shuttle van.  The trip took about 2.5 hours.  After signing the transfer papers, all witnessed by a notary public and then having our pictures taken with the Beast in front of the Blythe Post Office to document to the State of Arizona that we were actually in Blythe with our RV, the La Mesa RV folks shook our hands, patted us on the back, hopped in their shuttle van and drove away.

Gulp!  It was now up to Mary Margaret and I to figure out how to get the Beast and ourselves back to Mesa, Arizona; a long, long, long 170 miles away.

With the confidence and bravado that experienced truck drivers are renowned for, we climbed aboard, buckled up, turned on the engine and released the heavy-duty air brake system which issued a loud spreeeesh.  Holly, sh*t, we really do need to drive this 40-foot, 40,000-pound beast through the town of Blythe and then find the freeway back to Phoenix/Mesa area.  Double gulp!

To help get us into the mood, the town of Blythe was kind enough to block off a maze of streets due to a recent monsoon rain that flooded the roads.  Thus, we were forced to weaved through and around orange warning cones and barricades, slowly making our way out of town.

To make a long story just a bit shorter, we did navigate our back to Mesa just fine, buzzing down the freeway at 65 MPH, passing cars and big rigs along the way as well as getting passed by other cars and other big rigs that were going 70 to 80 MPH. We drove through rain showers and Saturday evening Phoenix traffic with Mary Margaret helping me avoid other vehicles by keeping a sharp eye on the traffic coming up behind us and in front of us. She also kept me advised as to how well I was staying between the lane markers.  It was really great team work that we both enjoyed.

Once we returned to La Mesa RV’s lot, we parked the beast and hopped in our little Fiat to return for our last night of staying in our hotel.  Tomorrow, we would hook up the Fiat to the Beast and for the first time drive our vehicles in tandem down to Tucson, where we would be staying for the next few weeks in order to outfit our new home.

I have finally taken some photos of our living room, dining room and kitchen area and have posted them below.

This is the view after you have entered our home.  It is of the living room, dining room and kitchen area.   The door at the end leads to our bedroom and master bath.


Here is our kitchen.  It comes with a large microwave/convection oven, two sinks, a induction stove top that we love, an extreme quiet dishwasher and a L-counter which retracts.  All of the cabinetry throughout the RV is solid cherry and the workmanship is outstanding.  There is tons of storage room throughout the RV.


Another view of the kitchen, this time with the cover for the induction stove top raised.  There are also two covers for the sinks if one wished the have a completely open counter top.


Next to the kitchen and right before you enter our bedroom is a powder room.


Across from the kitchen is where you will find our full size refrigerator/freezer.


Next to the refrigerator is our cozy  but comfy dining area.  The windows here and all around the RV come with both day shades and night shades.  Since we are in the desert and during the summer, we have the shades pulled to keep the heat out


OUr RV comes with 4, yes 4 TVs.  Go figure.  Two are in the living room, one in the bedroom and one is outside,  Here is the entertainment area of our living room and it comes with a electric fireplace that also supplements our heating system.  Also, the porcelain floor tiles are underlain with a floor heating.


This shows the front of our livingroom with the second TV and where we sit while driving down the road.  Both the driver’s chair and the passenger’s chair swivel 360 degrees.


Year 1 Day 3: Making The Transition – Part 2

We left San Francisco very early in the morning to make our escape from the city before the morning traffic began.  Plus, our goal for the day was driving to Las Vegas which was 550 miles away.  Our sweet little Fiat was packed to the hilt, loaded down with every conceivable thing we could take with us.  For the last 10 years we have been storing stuff at each of our children’s places knowing that someday our sailing days would end and things that one needs to live on the land would once again become useful.  We had given away most of our “stuff” before moving on to Leu Cat but we still kept certain treasured keepsakes

We were very impressed with how much stuff we could cram into the little Fiat.  Every time Mary Margaret came to the car with another treasure, my eyes would roll as I was sure there was no way we could squeeze it in.  Time after time this happened and by the time we were through and had packed ourselves into the car, I felt like the little car in the circus that is jammed full of clowns.  Nevertheless, the little Fiat handled all of the load just fine and we put-putted up and down the steep hills of San Francisco making our escape.

We arrived in Las Vegas in the late afternoon and stayed with our dear friends the Kennedys.  We last saw them in April when they came and visited us on board Leu Cat when we were in the US Virgin Islands.  We had such great memories of this visit and we all reflected sadly on how hurricane Irma has destroyed St. Thomas, St. Johns and, of course, Leu Cat.  Tears well up in our eyes each time we think about it.

The next morning we were off again in the early morning darkness so that we could miss the horrible Las Vegas rush hour traffic.  Our goal now was reaching Mesa, Arizona, just a short hop for our “husky” little Fiat of about 350 miles. We had agreed with the dealer to arrive there by noon so they could start work on installing the towing and supplemental braking system on our car that is required so we could tow it behind the RV.

Once we arrived and handed over our car, we got the grand tour of the RV which included 4 hours of detailed instruction on operating every little gizmo that it comes with.  Our heads were swimming with details well before the 4 hours were over.  Added to that overload of information was our excitement of actually seeing our new home and how beautiful it was.  Wow!  The beast is massive and our eyes widened to the max as we kept walking and walking and walking to go from its back end to its front.

The beast (we still have not named her and would love to get some suggestions from you to help us out) has 4 slide outs which greatly expands the room inside.  I will post some photos that I have copied off the Internet to give you some idea of what our home looks like.  In the not too distant future, I will take photos of our actual unit since we have some features that are a bit unique to most other units.

By 5 PM we were exhausted and rather overwhelmed with how much we still needed to know before we could feel comfortable with what we were about to move into.  For example, there are over 110 switches and buttons (at last count, I am sure there are more as we discover more and more each day) that control a vast array of operations.  Sheesh!

Here is a photo of our bus.  It is a Tiffin Allegro 40Sp.

Outside Bus

Here is the floor plan of our bus.  Note that we have the table option with the two upholstered bench seats.


I will try to post interior photos tomorrow.

Year 1 Day 2: Making The Transition – Part 1

Making the transition from living on a sailboat to living in a RV has been quite a challenge. The living part is actually very easy as our new RV is very spacious and comfortable. The challenging part has been the logistics that one has to deal with in making the transition. Who would have thunk it?

First, we spent weeks in the hot tropical sun prepping Leu Cat to be sold. This not only including spiffing her up but also going through all of our stuff that was on board and determining what should stay and what should be packed up and shipped back to the states. Once that decision was made, we were next faced with how to get our stuff back to the states. Fortunately, I found a freight forwarder located within a mile of us so we took our packed up boxes over to them for storage and then shipping.

We left Leu Cat in Sint Maarten to be sold and returned to San Francisco where we moved in temporarily with our daughter, Heather and her foster baby, Victoria. It was a real joy to be able to spend some intimate time with them.

Now was time to find the perfect RV to call home. This was actually the fun and easy part. In past visits back to the State over the last 3 years, we has gone to some RV shows and it was during those visits that Mary Margaret fell in love with the bus that Tiffin makes. Thus, all I had to do was search the Internet to view the various buses on the market, looking for the one that had all of the features we wanted and at the right price.

Within a couple of days of Internet research and searching we found our new home and we were anxious to buy it while it was available. However, we were still in the negotiating stages with a potential buyer of Leu Cat and were not in a position to make an offer on the RV. As it turned out, I had to fly back to Sint Maarten to address some concerns that the potential buyer had before we could close the deal. Before leaving for Sint Maarten, I talked to the sales manager at La Mesa RV and explained my situation to him. I shared with him that we love this particular bus and desperately wanted to buy it but could not commit to doing so until Leu Cat was sold. Vince Meo, the sales manager, was very understanding and suggested that he remove the bus from its Internet market listing and holding it for us during the month of August. If we still were not able to buy it by then, he would put it back on the market. Also, he said that if someone came onto his lot and wanted to buy the unit, he would sell it to them. Seeing that this was a new 2017 unit and the end of the model year was quickly approaching, we felt this was more than reasonable, especially since we were not putting anything down on it and we had agreed to a price which was 25% less than listing.

With this understanding, I flew back to Sint Maarten to address the issues the potential buyers had. As it turned out, I was not able to make the potential buyers happy unless I dropped the price of Leu Cat by $30,000! I discovered that the potential buyers were real estate brokers in the US and I felt like they were trying every trick in the book to buy Leu Cat well below market value.

Fortunately, on the day we made the decision to kiss the potential buyers goodbye, a new offer came in just below what we had listed Leu Cat for. Yay! Saved by the bell! They immediately flew in when they heard that I was on the boat and we took Leu Cat out for her survey sail. Leu Cat passed her survey with just a couple of minor issues noted (a slight tear in a batten pocket and a rivet on the bowsprit that needed replacing) and we went into escrow with a closing date of August 30th. Double Yay!!

On the day that we received the funds from the sale of Leu Cat, I immediately signed a contingent agreement to buy our new RV home. The agreement allowed us to first inspect the bus before actually buying it, just to make sure we were getting the home we wanted. I put less than 1% of its value down at this time knowing that if we did not buy this unit, our down payment would be applied to the actual unit we did buy.

During this time we also had to find the perfect car to tow behind our new house on wheels. More research, more angst in finding the right vehicle in such a short period of time. Again, thanks to the various car buying search engines on the Internet, within a few days we had lined up the perfect car to tow and drive. We wanted a very light and small car that is designed to be towed with all four wheels on the ground and with no special alterations needed to make it towable. For us, this whittled down the field to just the Fiat 500. As it turned out, our nifty little car was sitting on a lot in San Jose, just waiting for us. It too was a new vehicle and since we were in the end of model season, we were able to snap this puppy up for just $12,500. Wow! What a deal!

Now we were ready to pack up and head off to buy our RV. Whoa Nellie! Not so fast. As it turns out, our son and daughter-in-law decided to give birth to our brand new granddaughter a week early. Actually, it was little Molly who decided to be born just in time to meet her Leu grandparents. Yay!

With David Paul, Allison and little Molly all doing well, we finally loaded up our little Fiat and off we went, striking out on our new adventure and our new lives.

Here is a photo of our neat, little Fiat 500 Pop.  Whoo Hoo!

2017 Fiat 500 Pop

The End Of One Journey, The Start Of A New One!

This is the post excerpt.

This is the very first blog of our new journey through life.  We have just finished selling Leu Cat, our Lagoon 44 Catamaran sailboat which we spent 10 years sailing around the world, and have bought a Tiffin Allegro Bus to explore North America.  We are very excited to begin this new journey and look forward to sharing it with you.

Before we begin, we wish to share with you some very sad news.  The new owners of Leu Cat, Susan and Doug, have just emailed us to say that Leu Cat is no more.  We sold Leu Cat on August 30th and she was anchored in the lagoon at Sint Maarten.  Unfortunately, the massive hurricane called Irma swept over Sint Maarten just a few days later and destroyed much of the island and hundreds of boats, including Leu Cat.  Here is the message that we received from Susan and Doug:

“It is my sad task to tell you that Leu Cat is a total loss from Hurricane Irma. According to the last AIS transmission, she ended up against the Skipjack Restaurant on Welfare Road at the short bridge to Snoopy Island at 5:05 am on Wednesday, Sept. 6. That was almost immediately after the hurricane hit St. Maarten. With that information, Ian found her at that location today under a pile of wrecked boats with only the flags on the forward hulls visible to identify her. She is in small pieces as she was blown through the causeway bridge. We are saddened also to know that he lost his Leopard catamaran (which was a business in addition to his surveying) as well.”

We were so saddened to hear this tragic news.  Susan and Doug are such nice people and this is the last thing we would want for them.  Fortunately, they did purchase hurricane insurance so they should recoup much of their loss.  Also, we are saddened because Leu Cat was such a wonderful home, sailboat and companion to us as we sailed around the world.  If you are interested in sharing the adventure we had with her, you can go go to our blog site by Click here to go to our sailing adventure blog site

In the days to come, we will be sharing with you our new adventures as we start our exploration of North America in our new home.  We have yet to name her and are open to any suggestions that you may have.  We will post photos of her in the next few days as the dust settles from our outfitting her.  She is a beauty!