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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Eyes Have It

Just a little "Clean Up" post to answer a few questions that some of you have asked concerning a couple of the things we've talked about on our blog.

First of all, Marti's eye is doing very well.  She had a macular  pucker, which basically was a wrinkle in her eye.  Surgery removed the wrinkle and she's sees clearer every day.  Not sure its such a good thing, though, because one morning she'll wake up, see what I look like clearly and be scared half to death.  In a couple of months her eye will be perfectly normal.  Hope her pulse will have recovered from her scare by then. ;c0

We want to do some volunteer work with the SOWERS group, which goes to different building projects around the country for churches and other faith based organizations that don't have the money or labor to construct needed facilities by themselves.  The receiving organization, in exchange for free labor on their construction project provides a month of free camping for the volunteers.  The volunteers put in six hour work days, five days a week for three weeks and then can remain the fourth week to sight see in the local area.  Building projects are posted on line and you can sign up for opportunities that work with your schedule.

Many folks have commented on my technical posts that I must have been a mechanic in a past life.  That is actually true, I was a mechanic in my past life.  I always was a tinkerer and was fascinated with mechanical things.  As a boy, I was building go carts and mini bikes.  In high school I got a job at age 16 washing school buses in my town.  That job turned into me helping the mechanics who taught me a lot of things and trusted me to do minor repairs on my own.  That led me to attend technical school for automotive and diesel vehicles while still working part time at the bus garage.

Upon graduation from technical school, I was hired as an assistant mechanic and began to do all kinds of repair and maintenance work on school buses, vans and other school board vehicles.  I eventually was promoted to the head mechanic position by age 21.

Eventually I moved on and worked for a GMC truck dealer, then a large tree company, repairing all kinds of equipment.  When the economy turned sour in the early 80's, I joined the Coast Guard as a machinery technician, maintaining the engines and gear on the boats and cutters.  While servicing in this capacity, I went to college at night and obtained a degree in Criminal Justice.  I remained in the maintenance field until I changed careers in 1992 and became a special agent in the Coast Guard Investigative Service, where I served the last 19 years of my career.

I never regretted getting a technical education first, it has served me well being able to do my own repairs on my vehicles and motor homes.

Our immediate plans are now to leave Virginia this Friday after Marti's last day of work (Yippee!) and head to NJ to our son Corey's house for the weekend to attend my dad's 90th birthday party and spend the rest of the weekend with Corey and DIL Amanda.  Monday, 5 December, we're leaving for Sioux Falls, SD to get our residency established, new drivers licenses and register the Journey, the Element and our two scooters.  Then it's off to Oregon to our son Ryan's house to spend Christmas with his family, DIL Amber and granddaughters Taylor and Kierra.

We are going to watch the weather carefully and alter our Westward trek as needed to avoid that funny snow stuff.  We'll wait out things if we need to.

In early January, we're heading South to Quartzsite to visit with many of our RV blogging friends.  Phew!

More of our plans to follow.

One more fly in the ointment.  I've just been diagnosed with an early cataract in my right eye, causing some blurred vision.  I'm going to see about getting it removed while we're in Oregon.  After all the fun we've been through getting on the road, this seems to be just a minor bother.

Tonight we had Marti's retirement party, but that's for the next post.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


  1. Never heard of SOWERs. I followed your link to it however. This may be something my husband and I would be interested in.

  2. The adventure begins. I have been following your tales for a while, as a fellow Journey owner. We have lived aboard for a little over a year, but we lived in the same local WA area until my wife could retire (11/30/11), I will continue to work (internet consultant), so we are finally hitting the road 12/1, south to California. For all the differences between your and our situations, there are way more similarities. Happy travels, we may cross paths soon, as Arizona is in our January plans.

  3. Thanks for sharing that info. Interesting how your earliest training has served you so well. It also is serving all of us who follow your blog!!

    You both will have the best vision to see and enjoy all the wonderful sights you are about to discover!! Can't wait to see it through your enhanced vision;o))

  4. As cold descends into our area, you get to slip away ... hopefully SD will be kind to you and delay any winter weather they might have in store ... we're thinking of going up in late Sep or Oct next year to get our residency established ... we'll see what the legal/tax folks say about any ramifications of doing this while we continue to earn a living here for a few months.

  5. I bookmarked your SOWERS page. What a great ministry that would be.
    We went to eye doc yesterday as cataract isn't bad enough yet. Darnit..was hoping for insurance covered lasik :)

  6. I always enjoy reading your technical posts you could be a good instructor they are always easy to understand. Enjoy your weekend stay with your NJ family. We will be in Quartzsite also hope to be able to say hi. Safe travels to both of you.

  7. cheers!!..have fun at the party!!!!

  8. Nice summary of your interesting background. Our choices at each turn make us who we are.

    Glad both of you will have eyes in tip top shape for all the beautiful country you will be seeing.

    I was checking out the national weather map and saw Sioux Falls high 32, low 13. Brrrrrrrrrrr. Don't think Winnona could do that.

  9. I'm so excited for you. You've had an interesting life. I can hardly wait to hear of your adventures in your new life.

    We'll be leaving for Oregon around the middle of December -- pending the weatherman's prediction. However, most definitely we'll be in place in "Q" way before you head south.

    Here's kudos to you and Marti. We can hardly wait to meet you on the road!

  10. Glad you're going to keep a really close eye on that weather. You're heading into some iffy country. When we started out our journey, we left Montana on January 22 ahead of a snowstorm. Made for some interesting travel but made our arrival in AZ that much better.

  11. You certainly have a varied and interesting resume. (Or would that be a checkered past?) Now we know where to go for help!

  12. It is going to be exciting getting over the mountains that time of year:)

  13. enjoy the party tonight I'm sure it will be a blast with lots of laughs and maybe a few tears also...can't wait to follow along with you as you journey south :) enjoy the time has come for you both

  14. Really hoping for safe travels for you two. Snow seems to be around in a lot of places, but, I guess it is now officially December.

  15. Thanks for bringing us up to date - inquiring minds want to know ;))

    Stay safe on your journeys and hope you don't run into any snow. If not for this darn wind, we would be making good time over the pass into Oregon now. No snow for the next several days at least.

  16. Finally, Marti's last day. Make sure she turns in her work phone!!! :)
    Have fun this weekend in NJ and we hope you have safe travels to SD and then on to OR. We are so glad you two have made it to this day!!!

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