good thing we have 5 months to figure that out!
Our plans for this last winter were easy to decide ... our 2010/11 trip south to Arizona and California was a real dud. Everything that could go wrong did. With our parks job last summer we knew we would have some money behind us and were excited to really do some SERIOUS traveling.
Derek and I were even so bold as to be planning NEXT winters USA Tour over the winter. We had it all planned out and thus becoming option 1.
Option 1: A 2012/13 USA Tour
Having never been across the northern states this was where we would start out - first up - Yellowstone. If we left right after our parks closed for the season, on October 1st, we might still have time to enjoy some late fall weather. From there, through to the Dakotas, and on to Wisconsin to visit with a friend. Then down to south of Chicago and over to Indiana - another friend. Then over to Pennsylvania and Amish Country down to Asheville North Carolina via the Blue Ridge Parkway to visit with Curt and Debbie Crist. We will then make our way over to the Natchez Trace Parkway and follow it down getting off here and there. From Natchez it would be back over to - where else? - Texas. Spend a few months in Texas before heading back west and north to home come spring.
What a plan! And a whole bunch of new places - again!
BUT - all that driving - again!
Option 1 would sure colour in a lot more of our visited USA map.
'We are not going to do option 1, no way - no how!'
We quickly began thinking of our other options.
Option 2: New Zealand
Since our RV and driving were the problem we quickly said goodbye to them and started working on a plan to spend next winter in New Zealand. Yup - go for broke (ha ha - really it seems) and travel half way around the world. We started googling everything NZ and really started getting into the idea. We found places to rent for 6 months - maybe right by the beach we thought ? ok - well - maybe not RIGHT by the beach. We were hopeful - we don't need much! We found places for $500 a month.
We'll take public transit, since it's spring/summer we'll grow our own food. We are good at pacing ourselves on food so the expensive food prices shouldn't be a concern - righ?. We had totally convinced ourselves of New Zealand until we reached two MAJOR road blocks 1. cigarettes are $14 a pack - which would mean that a really huge portion of our monthly budget would go to them (which is nothing compared to the possibility of $100 pack by 2020 and 2. our animals - again we had convinced ourselves that we could find a temperary home for our cats and just bring Roofous with us. Hmmm - but look at the flight times - 13 hours to Hong Kong and 10 hours to New Zealand. That sure is a long time for him to be in a cage, let alone a long time for Derek to be without a smoke.
And so, our plans of New Zealand themselves quickly went up in smoke!
New Zealand - maybe one day! ha! how about to celebrate when Derek quits smoking!
Back on the road traveling back to Canada and BC gave us time to start working on option 3. We were still on the idea of no driving or RV but thought - well maybe we just won't fly SO FAR.
Option 3: Central America
South America! Let's go to South America! We'll rent a little place near the beach, a small town - large enough to have some amenities but not a BIG place with too many people. Hiking - yup - we need hiking near by. Yaaaaa! So, which country we asked each other? Dunno!
That was easy to fix - I sent off an email to Ayngelina over at Bacon Is Magic. Ayngelina is a Canadian who has spent much time - alone - traveling through South and Central America. I asked her where we should go based on our likes and dislikes. In no time at all Ayngelina responded with ideas and further questions. After a few emails back and forth, it became clear that South America probably wasn't right - we don't speak a lick of Spanish - but Central America had definite potential. Ayngelina adored Equador having spent three months there, and Nicaragua her most favourite which is close to Guatemala and Costa Rica.
Hmmmm. Ok we thought - some options there. But we still have Roofous to consider. However, Ayngelina did say she thought bringing a dog would be fine. But does she know we have a BIG dog - and a HUSKY????.
And Nicaragua? Really? I can't say it has EVER been on THE list but well better to listen to those who have been there. Just like Cambodia - who would have thought that it would be a top tourist destination?
Central America was really starting to grow on us as we were traveling through BC - it will be warm - way warmer then the USA in the winter. And cheap! We should be able to do it CHEAP!
Well, Nicaragua certainly looks like our kind of place!
But then as you know we traveled through our beloved town of Keremeos, BC. We lived in Keremeos for a year, a few years ago. It was our best year ever and hope to return to live there one day. Well, why one day - how about SOON!
Option 4: Stay Home
Of course, staying in Canada for the winter is an option - but in the last few years it hasn't been the option of choice. And with only the ownership of an RV- a cold option to be sure. If we stay home, we need to rent. Don't get me wrong - if our life was as it should be, Derek, Cassia and I would be in our own sweet little house with a flourishing garden center and landscape business in Keremeos BC or the same on - oh - 5 acres somewhere close by. But at the moment that is only a mere - distant - way off - one can only hope or win the lottery - type of dream.
But is it possible? Is it possible to find an affordable place to rent in the town we love that will accept our pets. It has happened before but can we be that lucky twice?
There are A LOT of things we love about Keremeos, visiting all the fruit and veggie stands is just one. Parsons is one of our favourites.
So - there you have it! We'll keep you updated as the summer progresses. As for me, I'm going to try not to think about it for the next few months - who needs the added STRESS. There are other options I suppose - another is to find a resort that is closed in winter that requires security. We have heard of these types of places and were just a few days too late back in 2010 when we heard about one.
Unfortunately, option 1 may be difficult since our truck is toast. It needs a new engine - work we are not prepared to do or have the money for. To get the money for that we would have to sell the trailer - but then why have the truck if we don't have a trailer to pull. Plus - we purchased our truck prior to Cassia entering our world. It was ok when she was small but she is quickly outgrowing her little area behind our seats. (Update: actually our truck may not be toast - not sure. We took it today and the engine light went off - it idles rough but runs ok - so perhaps it was misdiagnosed in Kingman. Now we are wondering if a computer chip is the problem! sheeesh - vehicles!)
Therefore, we have decided to sell our trailer this spring. It has been a good little trailer for us but after three winters south we realize that a trailer as an RV isn't for us. So - if you know of anyone looking for a 21' Ultra lite let us know - we will post pictures and info in an upcoming post.
If we do decide to go south next fall we will purchase a small motorhome, such a chinook or a class C.
Any other suggestions?
Today's Interesting Link: Have you been to Tiny House Blog yet? It's familiarly well know - I think! I have them on my facebook and sometimes share neat little houses or similar ideas on a life made simple's fb page. The website is worth a look if you are into living small!