Plans for the Future
August 29 and we are finally able to get a camping weekend in the schedule. It has been a long spring and summer of getting everyone back on their feet, literally. My mother had hip replacement surgery that led to complications at the same time my father had a mysterious drainage from a past heart surgery open up and Jeannie broke her foot. It was a challenging time that left precious little time for anything but surviving. But we survived, everyone is thriving and we are able to find time at the margins for a weekend away.
Since the trailer was unused for most of the summer I became concerned about keeping the water system healthy, so I came up with a plan to “Summerize” the system with a mild chlorine flush. I mention this because this trip needed to be to a place that we could un-“Summerize” and get any parts that we might need. We decided that there was no place better than Stagecoach for this, being that it is close to Camping World. Fortunately everything worked and no parts were needed.
It rained an incredible monsoon from Mandarin to St Augustine. It rained so hard that we were down to 30 miles per hour and not able to see very far ahead at all. After the drenching and just as we pulled into Stagecoach the ML indicated a trailer light failure. Sure enough, the drivers side tail light bulb on the trailer had cracked. I opened the lens and everything was dry, but it looked like a thermal failure on the bulb. We will have to keep an eye on it in the future.
A complete treat for us was the discovery that our neighbor was an Airstream. In the morning I managed to snag a conversation with the couple as they were preparing to leave. The husband and wife were from California and headed to Savannah and Charleston before making the lefthand turn for home. They were traveling in an Airstream 27FB Classic being pulled by a GMC 2500 Diesel.
We had a wonderful conversation with them for about half an hour and they offered a tour of their rig, which we gladly accepted. Their trailer was very cosy and comfortable and provided a more personal perspective than seeing the same model in the dealers lot. Most impressive was that it felt very usable and suitable for long adventuring. We exchanged experiences and took in any advice they could offer.
They indicated that they felt that they had made a good selection in their rig. It was comfortable and capable. They had been out a couple of months, with this being their longest trip. They had traveled over 39,000 miles so far and were far from done. Their advice included changing to 16 inch LT tires and keeping up with the occasional water leaks around the windows. They highly encouraged going to an Airstream Rally to meet other people and getting good advice.
After wishing them well we spent the rest of the afternoon reexamining our future plans. We decided that as we approach retirement we need to start the transition to the lower cost lifestyle and make the commitment to our adventure. We decided that once the lease is up on the ML 350 we will go ahead and replace it with a pickup truck. We can get by with the ML 350 for the interim but it is just too close to the margins from a towing perspective for years of extensive travel. Our plan is that we will get a pickup and I will drive as my daily driver and possibly look into getting something like a used Jetta diesel for every day use. When the lease is up on the C Class we will most likely get something like a Passat for Jeannie. As a wild card we might consider keeping the C Class, we will just have to see.
Having made those decisions we are now even more excited to get into our Victory Lap. We certainly do not want to wish the present away. We plan to continue to enjoy the Island Time and our current rig to the fullest. It is helpful though to be able to see where we think we may be headed. It is sobering to realize that this phase of our lives is drawing to a close. We are excited about our future, but at the same time apprehensive about the changes and their implications.
In the end we are in God’s hands and his plans will prevail. I believe he put these dreams in our hearts for a reason. Either to fulfill or pull us through challenging times. Either way, we are enjoying living the dream.