Time to get the bikes ready....

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thought I'd grab a photo of our motorcycles while they were outside the shed. Stu is cleaning up the shed and the bikes as we spend the weekend getting ready for our Route 66 ride.

Big Red III and Gypsy
Still no definite leave date since we're at the mercy of the company building our RV pavilion. Latest is that they will be here on Tuesday and it will only take them a day. We'll see....we plan to pull the RV out to the front of the driveway and run on solar (adding generator if it gets too hot). The biggest issue will be when they are done, Stu has to mount our portable DirecTV dish on the pavilion and get it aimed. Needless to say, our dish on the 5th wheel isn't going to work while under cover. LOL!

Sadie's New Home

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Well, it's been an adventure. We initially planned to take Sadie with us on our Route 66 motorcycle trip, then she grew up and we realized it wouldn't be good for her and would be difficult for us. So we looked for a foster mom and thought we had one in Maryland with the gal that took her on for our month in Ecuador.

Unfortunately, her older dog and Sadie decided to not get along this time so we were back to square one. So here was Stu, already in Maryland with Sadie and no place for her to stay other than boarding her long term.

Of course this was all compounded by the fact that we had made the decision to not take Sadie to Ecuador with us. This was not an easy decision to make and was influenced by many things. American Airlines will not transport her because she is considered a short nosed breed (both Boxer and Pit Bulls are on the list, even in a mix). We could use a pet transport service but that would be extremely expensive.

Then we had to consider the fact that we plan to come back to the US for 30-60 days each year as well as wanting to travel some of South America. In Cuenca the dog boarding is done by gringos and runs $20 a day, hefty bill for 30-60 days. We also had to factor in the living conditions for her there, either penned up in an apartment or behind a gated/walled enclosure where she would hassle anyone who passed. Walking her could be a challenge with all the street dogs, we've heard of several dogs who were attacked unprovoked. And we all know that Sadie isn't a shy dog...LOL!

So the search was on, emails, Facebook posts and texts flew from Stu's daughters and their friends. In the end a decision was made - Sadie has a home on a trial basis while we are on our Route 66 trip. If that doesn't work out, they will have time to find another solution.

Oh, you want to know where? Why, with Stu's oldest daughter's family! They have an invisible fence ready to install and three kids who love the heck out of her. Here are some photos taken today.

Hi Dad, see my new playmate?
With Billy in the kids playhouse
With Jesse & Billy in the playhouse
Livie's home from school, yeah!
Playing with kids all day is tough work!
Look how nicely I walk for Jesse!
At the bus stop with Olivia & Jesse

Oops, missed the bus, driving them to school.
Looks like a match made in heaven! Don't you agree?

My first EVER children's book is available on Amazon!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My first ever children's book is now available on Amazon. It's a rhyming picture book, What Do I Count, and is suitable up to age five. Good bedtime or anytime reading, teaches numbers. Great as a gift to/from parents and grandparents! {Please share the link with your family and friends.}

Kara Jaynes did an amazing job on the illustrations, making my silly words come to life. Thank you, Kara.

Hoping to have a paperback print copy with additional teaching pages available soon.

NOTE: All profits go the the charity Hearts of Gold Foundation to benefit needy families and children in Cuenca, Ecuador (our home for the next five years).

Signs of the rains....

Friday, August 23, 2013

Snapped this photo with my phone while walking our street yesterday. It has rained a lot in the last couple of weeks, that's why there hasn't been any news on our RV pavilion. The build is currently scheduled for Tuesday, September 3rd. They believe they can do it in one day - we'll see. We plan to leave for Route 66 before Friday of that week.

HUMP day!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Okay, I admit it, I absolutely love the new Geico commercial with the camel and hump day. Gives me the giggles. For anyone who hasn't seen it.....

We've had a lot of rain the last couple of days and I've been fighting what at first I thought was a head cold but when an attack of itchies all over started, figured out it was allergies. To what? WHo knows? Benadryl knocked it out...I just hope it stays gone.

Thanks to the Benadryl hangover, I was groggy yesterday so we ran errands - visited our bank for a wire transfer to the company that is doing our Ecuador Visa processing, went to Sears and ordered a new pair of glasses while they have some good discounts (current pair will become my backup for Rt 66 and Ecuador) and then the movies!

We just watched the original Kick-Ass the other night so the timing was perfect. {Note, don't go see if language or violence bother you}. We both enjoyed it, different than the first but still fun.

The rain made for some interesting views on the ride home...

Stu is getting ready to take Sadie up to her foster mom's in Maryland and he'll get in a family visit before we leave the country. Little Snausage is going to miss her - he's still really shy but we're hoping we can get him accepting enough of people that the neighbors can adopt him.

Mey plans? I'll be finishing up my editing of "Barely a Spark", hoping to get it out to my proof readers before the end of next week. Phew!

Ramblings and Rumblings

Monday, August 19, 2013

We've had some gorgeous weather in the past week making it possible for us to leave the windows open day and night. I love the fresh air streaming in! The rain moved in Saturday night, keeping the temperatures warmer and the air more humid so the A/C had to go back on. Sunday became a mostly rainy day, cool but wet so the A/C stayed on. It was nice while it lasted.

We are still waiting for the RV pavilion to be built, Stu will be contacting them today to see where we are in their schedule. Current plans call for us to leave for Route 66 on Tuesday (9/3) after Labor Day (no way do we want to be on the road that weekend).

I'm still struggling through editing "Barely a Spark", I will get the first edit done before we leave and hope to get it finally published before the end of September.

Not much else is new...

Welcome to our new blog home!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Welcome to our new blog home! We've combined all our blogs except "Retired in Cuenca" into THIS ONE for several reasons.
  1. KISS - Keep It Super Simple
    It's much easier on us (okay, ME) to maintain one blog for all interests. But because our time in Cuenca is so different, we will keep that separate - for now.
  2. Easier on the readers (YOU) to only have one blog to check for updates.
  3. Our full-time RVing has come to an end. We will continue to RV part-time (winters in FL or AZ) once we come back from Ecuador but that won't be a major part of our lifestyle.
  4. All our passions and history in one spot. First there was our RV blog, then Sadie's blog, followed by Route 66 and our property in Tennessee. ALL those posts are now here under one umbrella!
  5. I will post an a general update once in a while from Ecuador - as well as life in general ramblings and anything I think you might find interesting (like publishing a new book?).

We hope you will continue to follow us, first on our Route 66 trip in September and October, then as we prepare to move to Cuenca, Ecuador. We anticipate coming back to the US next fall and visit our families.

Now we need to figure out a new tagline....anyone got a suggestion?

All our gear is BOUGHT! Finally!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The last pieces arrived yesterday and today. Stu got his new Engel 30 qt. Dry Box Cooler, he likes everything about it except the missing drain spigot. Oh well...it fits well and holds a lot more than the old one that he lost.

I got a replacement mesh jacket on clearance, $79, and it's three-season with a quilted AND a rain liner. With the liners in, it fits wonderfully. With the liners out it's a bit loose but all the adjustments make it comfortable...and when it's really hot, I'll be wearing my cool vest underneath. It's a Cortech by Tour Master LRX Air Jacket for Women. Pink isn't really the best color to match my custom paint, but it will help me stand out on the road.

With the mesh pants we bought, I needed bigger rain pants and once again, got a great buy on Tour Master Elite II rain pants for $45. They fit perfectly and have the added bonus of heat shields on the insides of the legs to protect them from hot pipes.

I tossed in a nice little helmet lock for $15 and got free shipping on everything.

Oh, wait - we also bought two pairs each of lightweight, quick-dry, spandex exercise shorts. I won't scare you with any pictures. [giggle]

So, things are winding down as we move towards the first of September when we'll finally hit the road!

Still rolling,
Stu and Donna 

Another visitor.....

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

See who came to visit on the limb just outside our living room window. He was looking for a meal which he found rather quickly, probably a small lizard (we have a lot of blue tailed skinks). I took these outside our rain drop covered window with my phone and cropped them down. Enjoy!

Three Pupkateers and a little rain must fall!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sadie has been having a blast with our neighbor's dogs, but especially her BFF, Keta. Here are two of my favorite photos from when she was a puppy playing with Keta.

Recently a little stray pup, looks like a Chi-Weenie, has been hanging around. At first we thought he was from a neighboring house but over the last two weeks he has started hanging here (and the neighbor's) round the clock. He won't let you approach but now will come close (with the other dogs) if you ignore him. We've named him Snausage. I snapped some photos of the three of them playing today...they are almost inseparable!

I've been working on editing my book and Stu has been busy putting gutters on the shed, and a bunch of other small chores. His To Do list is shrinking!

Final purchases...well, almost....

Thursday, August 8, 2013

With a little over three weeks left before we leave on our trip, we're fine-tuning what we'll take with us. When I toured the country in 2005, I wore all textile gear. More functional and more protective than my leather gear. I overheat easily and found mesh gear (jacket and pants) helped me stay comfortable and protected. The downside is when the weather gets cold or wet, the mesh isn't as good. So I traveled with two sets of paints (one mesh, one with rain & quilted liners) and two different jackets.

Since that time, gear has come a long way. I looked at my old mesh pants, First Gear HT Air Overpants and almost bought us those. Then I found the Tourmaster Flex pants - a great three season pant. It works like my Joe Rocket Alter Ego jacket, with panels that zip off for mesh use and a zip in rain liner and quilted liner. The have CE armor in the knees and hips, and three positions for the knee pads. They also offer the mens version in Short, a bonus for us.


They arrived today and both fit perfectly. These are perfect pants for our trip. In warm weather we will wear bikes shorts underneath and be much more comfortable. On the trip home or in the mountains, we will leave the panels on and even add the quilted liner if needed. Stu managed to get his jeans under his but from experience, I know this can be cumbersome and uncomfortable after a while. Me? Not unless I lose weight. I will bring long underwear/tights for layering, as I did in 2005.

We bought ours through a great company, Fly n Cycle Motorsports. We talked personally with Shawn and got a great deal on the Flex pants from them. I highly recommend them!

The other item was finding a tank bag for me that could do double duty as a purse. I had previously tried a Joe Rocket one but it was too tall and uncomfortable. So I searched the web and I did a lot of analysis in size as well as price. I didn't want it too large or too tall, plus it had to have a handle so I can snatch it off the bike and carry it. I finally settled on this one, it will replace my purse for the trip and be a handy spot for sunglasses, tissues, candy, phone, etc.

It arrived today and I have to say I LOVE it. Stu likes it so much he plans to take it over once I sell my bike in November. Will hold just enough and yet not get in my way when I'm riding. Yes, it covers the pretty artwork on my gas tank, oh well. ;)

The last item we need to get is a replacement cooler for the trailer. Stu is busily working on that. We can easily get the same cooler but it has no drain plug and that is a big negative for Stu. Will keep you updated!

Still riding,
Stu & Donna

New addition to the property coming soon!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Those of you who follow our regular blog, 2 Taking a 5th, know that we are planning to spend some time in Ecuador the next few years. We have opted to keep the RV, at least for the first year (unless someone contacts us that is seriously interested in buying our toy hauler and Freightliner).

We wanted to better protect the rig so we have contracted with Walt's Buildings in Lafayette, TN to build an open pole barn. It will be wide enough to park the Freightliner and the RV side-by-side (with the slides pulled in).

This example photo is close to what we are getting, Stu will take pictures during construction. We will move the RV to our favorite Jamestown RV park, Maple Hill while they are building it.

The biggest difference is the front will be finished, similar to this photo.

Out time in Ecuador will be spent having a grand adventure AND saving enough money to pay cash for our cabin when we return.

Slowly rolling,
Stu & Donna

Rolling through the days....

Not much for exciting news as we sit here at our homebase in TN. Sadie has adopted our neighbors as part of her pack and spends almost every waking moments over there with their dogs. That's a good thing! she comes home around 8-9 at night, totally exhausted.

Stu is working to get us ready for our Route 66 motorcycle trip and I'm working on the paperwork for our move to Ecuador.

My other priority has been getting the first draft of Barely a Spark written, book two in my Klondike Mystery Series. I'll hopefully get it through the first edit in the next week or so, then on to my proofreaders and a final version to my beta readers. My plan is to get it published before we leave on our Route 66 trip around September first. The print version will take longer.

The weather has been nice, highs in the 80's and low's in the mid 60's or cooler. We've been sleeping with the windows open most nights. A little rain now and then, just enough to keep the farmers happy.

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