Happy but Exhausted in Ecuador

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Just a quick note...we arrived without fanfare or problems (more on that later). We've barely settled into our temporary apartment and it looks like we'll be in our permanent home by next weekend. We bought a used stove, sectional sofa, coffee table and dining set in the last two days.

Today we visited our new home - it's HUGE! And there is a ton of LIGHT! And we will need a fan or two for the warmer weather like we're having now.

Tomorrow we take delivery of the refrigerator, TV & stand, dishes, microwave, canister vacuum and stove. Before the week is out we'll get the living and dining room furniture delivered.

Tuesday we get our Visas registered here, then we can start the cedula process.

So busy, busy, busy....promise to write more when I'm not so tired. Right now I can't even find my camera to get the cruise photos uploaded. LOL!

Back from the cruise....

Monday, December 9, 2013

Just wanted to let everyone know we made it back safely but we're so busy that I won't be writing a longer post until next week when we are settled in Ecuador. I have photos on my phone, iPad Mini and my camera. All need to be transferred to my computer, culled and uploaded to SmugMug.

But we're busy seeing family here in Florida, doing our laundry from the cruise and loaded a rental car with all our stuff before heading to the Miami airport. Oh, and the six current cruise bags need to be gone through, reorganized (for proper carry-on the plane, mostly electronics and one change of clothes) and somehow stuffed into the half a foot locker that still has room. I'm skeptical that it will all fit and wonder if we will be loading one of the rolling duffle bags we brought. LOL!

So, please be patient and bear with us. The cruise was good (not great) and we look forward to passing along our tale!

December Book Specials

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I will be off CRUISING when these specials run, so I scheduled this post to let you know about them. Remember, e-books and paperbacks make great gifts for family and friends. I hope you will take advantage of these sales and spread the word!

Dec 6th to Dec 8thMy short story
"Lost and Found"
the pre-story for my romance novel
"Home Again"
is FREE at Amazon!!


Dec 8th to Dec 14th
My children's rhyming picture e-book
"What Do I Count"
is on sale for only $1.99 at Amazon.

Almost cruise time!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

We've had a great time with friends, enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. We all ate too much, watched some good TV and just chatted about everything and nothing.


We don't do Black Friday shopping but I needed to pick up a prescription at the local Walmart and wanted to try to get the new Garth Brooks CD/DVD set, "Blame It All On My Roots". We also needed to visit a bank and the post office. So around 1 pm on Friday we headed out...well, I guess here in "seniorland" everyone was napping because there were no crowds. We got all our errands done and back to the house without a hitch. Oh yeah, got my Garth set - they had plenty. (Stu is happily ripping them to his computer now.)

Now we're getting ready to head out on our cruise tomorrow. We won't be checking in so things will be quiet until a week from Sun/Mon. On our return, we then travel to the east coast to visit family for a few days before renting a large SUV and heading to Miami for our flight to Ecuador.

EXCITED!!!!!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving
to all our family & friends!!



Doing the happy dance! On the road...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Well, we are finally on the road...moving towards our goal of living in Ecuador. The day was busy with winterizing the RV and general clean-up of the rig. We wanted to leave everything clean and shiny inside but also had to leave it with all the slides pulled in. No major hassles, just time...

The truck is loaded to the gills - all the footlockers are in the back, protected from the elements with a tarp. The back seat has all the regular luggage and the a few bags filled with last minute items. No seeing out the back window!

We finally pulled out of our driveway a little after three PM when a couple miles down the road I remembered that I hadn't cleaned out some of the food stuff in cabinets. Gulp....well, better than being in Georgia or Florida when I remembered. So we quickly turned around, opened the slides enough to get to the cabinets and pulled out the crackers, nuts, sugar, peanut butter and rice mix. Most went to our neighbors who were also the recipients of everything in our freezer.

So, back on the road at 3:30, the weather forecast was calling for rain and sleet tonight. No matter whether we drove to Chattanooga, Cookeville or Crossville - the weather was determined to accompany us. We opted to head to Crossville where we would grab a late lunch-early dinner at Cracker Barrel and grab a room at the Best Western close by.

Good thing...before we got to Crossville it was raining, then sleeting, then as we pulled into Cracker Barrel - IT WAS SNOWING! It had turned back into freezing rain by the time we pulled out and we were doubly glad we'd gotten a room for the night when we drove over I-40, headlights for as far as you could see. Obviously an accident or maybe just treacherous roads to the west.

So now we're all snugged into our hotel room, heat on high, coffee at the ready and the only issue is the fact that, even after bringing in two different bags for me, I still don't have the one with my toiletries. Yup, in a third bag. LOL! Oh well, we'll sort it all out tomorrow night.

PS> For those of you following this blog AND our Ecuador blog, sorry for the repeat. Have to save time where I can. LOL!

Our grand adventure starts tomorrow!


Finally, everything is packed...but I'm not sure where everything is. LOL! We had to pack for 1) the drive to FL & staying with friends until Sunday, 2) our 7 day cruise and 3) 3 days of visiting family before 4) we fly to EC. The only thing either of us is sure of is having our cruise stuff packed and at the ready. Needless to say, once we get to the last 3 days, we'll be doing some unpacking/repacking to square things away.

Are we excited? Absolutely - both for the cruise and the move. But to be perfectly honest, I'm most excited about getting my new iPad Mini on Wednesday when we arrive at our friend's house. WOOT! So the truck is loaded to the gills, the refrigerator is empty and Monday we'll do our final things - last minute cleaning and checking for missed items, putting out mouse bait and winterizing the RV. We'll move our Freightliner truck under the pavilion with the RV, close our gate and head south. Good thing, they're forecasting sleet and snow later tomorrow!

In other news, we have managed to find a great deal on a couple more used items for our apartment:
  1. refrigerator
  2. 40" HD TV with custom table
  3. microwave/toaster/vacuum
Life is good! We won't be blogging much in the next two weeks so bear with us

It's almost time!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Our To Do lists are shrinking...we've seen a local attorney and gotten our wills updated, filled out and had our Five Wishes notarized (Don't know what that is? You should, everyone should!) All the vehicles are ready to store, insurance has been notified, etc, etc, etc.....

We're 90% packed, down to Stu's getting the last of his clothes out (after the last load of laundry). We're at one bag over our original estimate but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't cut things down any further. LOL! We will still have a lot of things to buy when we move into our apartment.

Tonight we went into Cookeville and a great farewell dinner with our good friend, Joanne. I worked with her in 2007 before I went full-time RVing and she was our realtor when we bought our property here. We love seeing her and sharing laughs together.

It was a drizzly day today, dreary and dull but we both got a lot done. Tomorrow another cold front moves through leaving us with a high in the mid 40's and lows dipping down to 21...worse is Sunday with a high in the mid 30's. Glad we're moving south on Monday...LOL!

We're both excited about our cruise, seeing family & friends and, oh yeah, moving to Ecuador!

Visit to Atlanta....SUCCESSFUL

Sunday, November 17, 2013

We headed out Thursday for Atlanta where we had an appointment to pick up our new Pensioner's Resident Visas at the Ecuadorian Consulate. We left plenty of time, having booked a reservation (free, thanks to points) at a Best Western less then an hour from where we needed to go. We did a little shopping along the way, had lunch & dinner courtesy of Subway.

The sunset coming into Chattanooga was gorgeous and I took a bunch of photos with my phone. Hope you enjoy some of them...


Our trip down to the Consulate on Friday morning was hectic, it is Atlanta after all, but not unbearable. We easily got parked in the parking garage and wandered into their office about 30 minutes early. We filled out a basic information form, handed over our documentation letters and passports, then our payment for the Visas and less than 90 minutes later we walked out! Painless...mostly thanks to our wonderful facilitator, Maite Duran.

From there we grabbed some lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse and then went to see the movie, "Thor", which we thoroughly enjoyed. Oh, if you go to see it - do NOT leave before the credit end. Honest!

From there we drove to my youngest daughter's house and the next 48 hours are a blur of grandkids and dogs. Some of the highlights....
  • playing balloon volleyball with my middle granddaughter, Amanda
  • meeting Boone the Mastiff and Samson the Great Dane, both rescue dogs
  • watched Stu lean over to pet Boone and have the chair break underneath him
  • watching "Pitch Perfect" and "Man of Steel" with the family
  • getting my FIRST EVER pedicure with my daughter, a little enjoyment time


On our way home Sunday we decided we wanted to get iPads before going to Ecuador. Stu wanted the new iPad Air and I wanted the new Retina Mini. Well, after several false starts at the Sam's Club in Chattanooga (power off, waited almost an hour to get in to find out they had none even though online it showed that they did), Walmart in Chattanooga (waited 20 minutes for someone to wait on us, gave up) - we lucked out at our local Sam's Club in Cookeville and Stu walked away with not only his 32GB iPad Air but a great cover with a Bluetooth keyboard from Kensington.

Once home, before the bad Sunday storms rolled into our area, we unloaded and I went online to order my iPad Mini from the Apple Store (the only place it seems to be available right now) and am getting it shipped to our friends in Florida.

Tomorrow we visit a local attorney to get our wills redone here in Tennessee and start on the now growing TO DO lists. We will get it all done...we have to! We leave here on Monday! Yipes!!!

Almost a week....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's been almost a week since we last blogged but it feels longer. Why? Because we've been so busy! While we've gotten a lot done, there is still a lot to do before we leave town. But I am sure we'll get it done...the good thing is we do have a couple of days leeway. We hope to be with friends for Thanksgiving but if something holds us up, our cruise doesn't start until Sunday.

BIG news! The second book in the Klondike Mystery Series, "Barely a Spark", is now available in print as well as electronic. Check it out on Amazon. Great Christmas gift!


Friday we visit the Ecuadorian Consulate in Atlanta to pick up our Ecuadorian Visas...we're both excited! The biggest hurdle now is fitting everything into the trunks...really think we're going to have to scale some stuff back. Oh well, it all will work out!

A cold front is moving into the area tonight and tomorrow. Rain changing into snow flurries tomorrow with a high of 38 and a low of 21 (and we're usually 4-5 degrees colder for the lows). Brrrr.....


So what are we up to?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Our daily life is pretty much full of things on our To Do Lists....many getting crossed off and a few more getting added. The weather is cool as winter approaches here in north central Tennessee.

Stu is working hard to get all the vehicles ready for winterization and storage. I'm working on another long list of legal and financial issues. But we're working our way through it and hopefully everything will pull together soon. Timing is key to getting out of here and down to Florida for our cruise and then seeing Florida families before our flight to Ecuador.

We're really excited about the apartment we've rented down there, albeit unfurnished. We'll slowly get the basics and we have a month to do that since we've already rented a full furnished temporary apartment for our first month.

Want more details? Visit our other blog, http://retiredincuenca.com, and follow us there so you don't miss any new posts!

I am waiting for the paperback proof of "Barely a Spark", and will post when it's available. Still getting good reviews for it and the first Klondike mystery, "Not a Whisper". They'll make great Christmas gifts and my children's book, "What Do I Count", is perfect for the grandkids under age five. The print version has added pages to help reinforce the number learning. You can see all my books on my Amazon author page. Thanks! Oh, and tell your friends....giggle!

Oops, forgot to blog WE'RE HOME!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We made it home on Saturday afternoon, sunny but cool, nice ride up from outside Chattanooga. We stopped at Cracker Barrel in Crossville for a late lunch/early dinner. We both opted for comfort food - Stu had chicken and dumplings and I had meatloaf.

As we rolled down the quiet little one lane road to our property, Stu called out over the intercom. Our little buddy Snausage was running alongside in the woods. I called out to him and watched in my mirror as he came out of the woods, ears up and listening. I called out a bit more and he took off on the run. It was so good to see him and know he was okay.

We didn't do much the rest of the day, unpacked our luggage and relaxed. Sunday we did a few more things around the rig, started laundry and got some groceries. The trip caught up with me, I took a three hour nap.

Monday I did all the laundry then we picked up our mail from our neighbors and chatted. They've put a little doghouse out near the end of their driveway with food and water. They're still hoping to befriend him and we hope so, too.

More chores today, I got all my files moved from my old computer to my new one, got the new one backed up, cleaned up the old one for Stu to take over and worked on sorting through our motorcycle gear. We have a large tote that we'll take into the laundry at town to wash with a special preservative solution. Then they can all be packed away.

Tomorrow Stu's motorcycle goes in for its 20k service and when we pick it up, I'll drop mine off next. Then we get to winterize them for storage. The list of chores go on and on, we just tackle a couple each day as we prepare for the cruise on 12/1 and our move to Ecuador.

Oh yeah, one more piece of news....from left to right:

 ~ Three years ago this fellow came into Stu's youngest daughter's life....
 ~ Two years ago he proposed at Halloween...
 ~ One year ago they got married at Halloween...
 ~ This year they announced they're PREGNANT at Halloween...


Yup, we're going to be grandparents again - this will be our 26th (between our wonderful extended/blended family). The date is in early June....

LA, AR, MS, AL TN, and GA, almost home! - Trip Home

Friday, October 25, 2013

No pictures, just a quick check-in. We stayed in Greenwood, MS and Russellville, AL before stopping last night just outside Chattanooga, TN (we are actually in GA). The weather has gotten quite cold for us, nights are dropping into the upper 20's and lows 30's. Today the high in Jamestown is forecast for 48...nope, not going there. LOL! We extended a night and will make the last leg on our trip home tomorrow when it's due to be in the upper 50's. Much better for us, even with electric gear.

Our conversations are filled with thoughts of our cruise and move to Ecuador. Much to do before then but will try to drop a post here once in a while. Oh, for those that wonder - Miss Sadie is loving her new home and her kids to watch over. In return, they love her and take her camping with them whenever they go. They also gave her a Halloween costume. LOL!





Thanks to everyone who has bought and read "Barely a Spark". I hope to have the print copy available in a couple more weeks as well as making it available on Smashwords. The reviews have all been positive and I appreciate each and every one! If you have read and enjoyed it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon and PLEASE tell your friends. The best marketing is word of mouth!

NM, TX, LA: rolling through - Trip Home

Monday, October 21, 2013

The weather has been decent if a bit on the cool side in the mornings. We left Las Cruces NM and headed to our next stop in Kerrville, TX. Beautiful country, decent hotel and a good night's sleep and it was on to Carthage, TX. On our way, after surviving a trip through Austin traffic, we had a nice lunch at the Cafe 290 in Manor, TX where Stu got to chat with some firefighters from McAllen TX. Nice guys...we arrived and left at the same time.



Here is a pic of my windshield - the tiny bugs looked like little hairs growing out when viewing from the side. Needless to say, the photo doesn't really show that. LOL!



Why Carthage? Still avoiding the worst weather - rain and coldest temps. Things held for us and we had another decent hotel and a good night's sleep before moving onward to Monroe, LA. That's when things fell apart a little bit... We were about 70 miles out of Monroe when we stopped for a break. I went to get something out of my left saddlebag....





The back bolt holding it on was completely sheared off. Stu attempted a roadside fix but we finally opted to remove it and strap it on top of the trailer until we got to the hotel. Oh, did I mention the fact that the roads in Louisiana ARE THE WORST EVER? No? Well, they are...and not just judging from this trip. LOL!







By the time we got to the hotel we agreed that if the room was nice, we were staying an extra day. It was and we did. We headed out to Logan's Roadhouse for a late lunch/early dinner.



Then we took in a movie, "Carrie". Not as good as the original but good enough to bring the story of bullying (albeit a fictional story) to a new generation. Tomorrow we head out again, taking back roads and avoiding the interstate. Weather is cooling but looks to stay dry. We can layer up but we both HATE riding in the rain. We should be home by Friday!

PS, Stu got the saddle bags bolted back on with Stage 8 bolts. That ought to hold them.

Las Cruces NM - Trip Home

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Just a quick note and a few photos. We enjoyed our stay in Las Cruces, NM so much we extended a second night (not really, we were just trying to avoid the rain in Texas). Seriously, the hotel was gorgeous! Built in the mid 1940's, it was full of the old Southwest feeling with stenciled walls, tile decorations and handmade furniture.


We took the extra day to take in a movie. Last week we saw "Rush", which we really enjoyed, so this time we tried "We're the Millers" and weren't disappointed. We were the only ones in the theater which was nice because we were both laughing out loud. When we left, my stomach hurt and I still had tears in my eyes. (NOTE: if bad language offends you, don't go!)

From there we moved across the parking lot to have some beer and a late lunch/early dinner at De La Vega's Pecan Grill and Brewery. As we pulled up we saw this interesting custom bike.


We had to try the samplers - nothing really stood out but we found a few we thought were "ok". Dinner was great, seafood taco for Stu and Mediterranean salad for me.


Oh, almost forgot...before we arrived at the hotel we stopped at Barnett's Harley-Davidson and browsed around. Nice store and I snagged a great t-shirt. This is the back...


So we continue our way easterly, dodging rain, layering up for cooler temps and still enjoying the ride!