It’s almost here! After so much preparation, we are in the final moments before we leave our familiar environs and hit the road. The process of getting to this point has been long and detailed. As someone who likes checking things off of lists, I am now getting the satisfaction of seeing everything come together. Unfortunately I am almost too tired to enjoy it! An abridged summary of what we’ve done:
- Dealing with STUFF. Final decisions have been made on what’s coming with us, what has been or will be sold on eBay or Craigslist, what needed to be donated, and what was stored. Our storage unit is now organized, labeled, and packed for the long term.
- Final trailer gear. We acquired the last remaining equipment that we think we need for luxurious living on the road, including our new supplemental solar panels and a cool telescoping ladder to access our roof equipment. This was the final push after we spent months researching and accumulating items such as our portable grill, generator, camping chairs, portable tables, weather monitor, waterproof pocket camera, hiking GPS, extension cords, hoses, water canisters, wheel chocks, leveling blocks, tools, headlamps, storage containers for food and gear, a water bladder for extended hiking, new hiking shoes, and much more. Amazon is very happy to have us as customers, and we are very happy to be Prime members.
- Toys. We acquired one high-quality but poorly maintained mountain bike on Craigslist. Ken is working on tuning it up for future bike adventures, and we are on the lookout for a second one.
Soooo many doctor visits. Our eyes, teeth, skin and many other body parts have been examined, tested, cleaned, and declared fit for duty.
- Truck checkups. Like us, our truck received a full-body review from a mechanic including an oil change and top off on all fluids.
- Estate planning. We used this major life change as the impetus to finally prepare the wills and advance directives we’ve been talking about doing for a decade.
- All kinds of other paperwork. Since getting mail on the road is a bit of a hassle, we’ve updated and renewed all our documents as much as possible. We now have vehicle registrations valid through 2020, driver’s licenses good through at least 2024, and brand new passports valid for 10 years. We’ve updated all our various memberships, and we’ve converted every possible form of mailing to electronic communications in lieu of paper mail.
- Meetups with friends and family. Most fun has been the chance to meet up with friends and family, some of whom we had not seen since moving to Miami several years ago. It’s been great to catch up, and sharing our plans about our upcoming travels (and receiving suggestions for destinations) has only heightened our excitement and anticipation for the journey ahead. Plus, we’ve enjoyed great meals with even better company.
Meanwhile, we’ve been camped for almost a week at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, where we spent a fantastic week last Thanksgiving, putting us within easy reach of plenty of stores and services as well as enjoyable outdoor activities.
We finished up several longer-term home improvement projects with the trailer so we are fully ready to roll. We even had time to enjoy some of the park’s extensive amenities.
Our hiking efforts continued, this time with a 7.75 mile hike that offered us some new challenges: some elevation changes, and some very soft sand. The dunes of the Atlantic Ridge are made of fine sand that, surprisingly, still supports a diverse community of plants and animals. We enjoyed seeing the story of fire damage and regeneration written in the scorched, charred logs, the slightly damaged trees and the tiny new plants in various places along the trail. It was a challenging yet rewarding hike.
We also hit the water one last time, this time for a half day of kayaking with my mom. The river was peaceful and the weather could not have been more glorious. Even though we didn’t see a ton of wildlife, it was great to get out on the water and enjoy the serenity and silence of the The Real Florida. Thanks, mom, for spending your birthday kayaking with me! We’ll miss you.