20 Lbs Down

I hadn’t really wanted to chronicle my weight loss journey because I’ve been on these journeys so many times.  However, I’m at a minor milestone so I just wanted to mark the occasion.    Back in December I had decided I had finally had enough.   My feet were hurting (still are), clothing was not fitting correctly, and in fact it was becoming harder to find clothing.  My (overweight) doctor has been nagging me for years to lose weight.  I have lost weight before but for the wrong reasons (which I won’t go into) but I always gained it back.  This time, it was strictly for me.

So, again, back in December I changed my eating habits.  First of all, portion control.  Restaurants serve really BIG portions of food.  I tried to eat the vegetables first, and then the meats, and then the starches.  I tried to eat only until I didn’t feel hungry any longer and then stop.  Also, I did not limit the types of food I eat.  I hate diets where you can only eat this or that.   I eat whatever I want, just less of it.

Which brings me to the second change I made: I only ate when I felt hungry.  Meaning; when my stomach started to growl.  Eating on a schedule just doesn’t seem to work for me.  Rather, it works too well.  In other words, letting my body tell me when I was hungry rather than the clock.  The third major change was to cut out soda, period.  In fact all sugary drinks and fruit juices.  I still have fruit juice on occasion but I try to shoot for no more than once per week.

That’s pretty much it.  I haven’t really increased my exercise regimen at all, just trying to keep up the activity I engage in now.  All of this has had the net effect of helping me to lose 20 lbs as of yesterday.  I’ve gone down two pant sizes and about to have to buy the next size smaller.  Do I think this would work for everyone?  Nope.  But it’s working for me.  I don’t really have a target weight in mind but I’m going to keep this going for as long as it does NOT affect my health.  In fact I’m hoping it improves my health.  I have a lot of life planned for the future!


Domicile Decision

I’m not retiring for 8.5 years.  We can’t travel full time at least until then so why am I deciding on our domicile so far in advance?  Because I can’t help it, I’m a planner.  We’ve had three states in the running; Florida, Texas, and South Dakota.  I had always thought we would move our domicile to Texas but recently I’ve been waffling.  South Dakota was starting to look very attractive which made me rethink my decision.  After crunching the numbers and reviewing health care options I have decided to stay with Texas.

So why even blog about this.  Mainly it just helps to write out my thought processes.   Also, I’ve done a lot more research on what we need to do to emigrate to Texas.  I’ve got a timeline now with what tasks we need to accomplish step by step as we moved to Texas.

The rough outline of the plan is this:

  • Purchase the RV prior to retirement
    • We’ll buy the RV a few years before we retire so we can get the RV outfitted and get some practice before we retire.
  • Sell the house
    • Once we are comfortable towing and living in the RV, we’ll select an RV park near my work to finish out the last few years of work.  Then we’ll clean out the house, do some minor remodeling, and then sell it.  We’ll pay off the RV and then invest the rest.
  • Full-Timing
    • At this point we will not have a house but I won’t be retired yet.  We’ll use this time to get used to full-timing and prepping for retirement.
  • Retirement
    • First we’ll set up a mail service in Texas.  More than likely this will be with Escapees.  They have tons of resources for full-time RV’ers.  This will give us our street address.  We’ll change our bank, insurance, etc to use this new address.
    • Next we’ll have to find an insurance agent in Texas to insure our vehicles just prior to the trip.
    • After retirement we’ll pull up stakes and head to Texas.  We have a 40 day trip planned to get to Texas.  Once we’re there we’ll set up shop and begin the process of registering vehicles and getting Texas driver’s licenses.

The domicile process:

  • Once we arrive in Texas we’ll head over to Escapees’ RV park, Rainbow’s End, to set up as a home base to begin all the tasks involved in becoming Texans.
  • Register our vehicles
    • We may be able to register our truck and trailer before we even leave for Texas.  However, it may be cleaner and easier to register once we get there.
  • Apply for Texas drivers’ license
    • Once we’ve insured and registered our vehicles we can apply for a driver’s license.  Once we have our TDL we are for all practical purposes, residents of the State of Texas.
  • Begin professional relationships
    • After we complete the domiciling process we need to talk to an attorney because California is notorious for going after people that it THINKS are California residents.  We want to talk to a lawyer to make sure we’ve got all our i’s dotted.

After we’ve got this process complete our next stop will be to near by Lake Livingston where we’ll stay for a month or so to just decompress and decide what to do next.  Again, we have 8.5 years before any of this happens but in that 8.5 years we need to buy a bigger truck, buy our 5th wheel trailer, get rid of our possessions, and sell our home all while holding down a full time job.  And we need to help our daughter move out and get established.  That’s probably JUST enough time to do all this.  It will be here before we know it.

The Dream Is Still Alive

I haven’t written much about retirement plans lately because there isn’t much progress on that front except for the slow crawl of getting through the years to get there.  After starting with my present employer I found out that to receive the pension I must put in 10 years of full-time non-probationary employment with them.  As our probationary period is 1 year I have to work 11 years total before I can retire and get my pension.  At this point I am at the 8 and 1/2 year mark.

The dream is to be able to get out from under the crush of “stuff” we have and travel.  Since full-time travel won’t be a viable option for at least 9 more years we can still travel part time.  And we can still get out from under our home and the crush of “stuff.”

My brother is doing just this.  In fact he blantantly STOLE my idea of living in an RV full time and travelling.  (That’s humor folks, don’t get upset.)  But you did read it here first!  It was MY idea.  NO one EVER thought of this before me! 🙂  He and his wife are selling their home and embarking on a journey to Texas this week in his Airstream travel trailer.  Good for them.  I hope they enjoy this new chapter of their lives.

The Trailer

But as this post is titled, we haven’t given up the dream yet.  This past year we have struggled over whether to get a smaller trailer and take shorter trips while having a small “home base” to return to.  My wife has been looking at homes both near and far for several months now.  This past two weeks have been a game changer for her.  We went to look at the smaller trailer we were considering.  I asked her to just spend some time in it with me.  After 30 minutes or so she needed to get out.  I then asked her to imagine spending a rainy weekend in that small trailer.  Not a pleasant thought but the weather isn’t always sunny when you’re camping.


When we got home I showed her a slightly larger (yet oddly, less expensive) travel trailer.  The Grand Design Iagine 2670MK Travel Trailer.  It has a much more spacious floorplan and a desk which was a feature we loved!  It was easy to just sit in the recliners and either nap or read.  It alsoWe could see ourselves spending time in this trailer.  The only thing we really didn’t like about it was how cramped the bedroom was.


The salesman that was showing us the unit told us that they had a 5th wheel with a similar floor plan but had a bigger bedroom.  Now, we really didn’t want a 5th wheel but it wouldn’t hurt to take a look.  We walked across the lot and he showed us the Grand Design Reflection 320MKS 5th wheel.

Now… this was more like it!  It had all the same features; desk, outdoor kitchen, but it had a bigger bedroom WITH a closet!  The kitchen had a larger refrigerator and a large pantry.  Cristy was sold.  We spent quite a bit of time in this trailer.  There were some things we liked about the Imagine travel trailer better but the Reflection just seemed more rugged and spacious.  Cristy almost fell asleep in the recliner.

If you’ve followed my blog you know that we’ve changed our minds several times.  That’s the beauty of dreams!   But this is the dream at the moment.

The Truck

Trailers don’t pull themselves, you need a tow vehicle.  When we were going with the Lance my RAM 1500 was enough to pull it.  The moment we decided to go with a larger trailer the decision was made for us that we had to scale up the truck.  I want to stick with RAM trucks so that part of the decision was made.   The only thing we needed to decide was to go with a RAM 2500 or 3500.   While the RAM 2500 is enough to pull the Reflection 5th wheel, that’s really all it could do.  There would be very little load carrying capacity in the truck beyond the hitch weight of the trailer.  Therefore it had to be the 3500.  It would EASILY tow the trailer and anything we could cram into it.  Decision made.

So… when can all this happen?  We think it’s best to make this all happen while I’m still earning money.  After retirement we’ll be on a fixed income.  So step one is to finish paying off my current truck.  Then we’ll trade it in and buy the new truck.  A few years after that we’ll buy the trailer and hopefully get it paid off before retirement.  We are also talking about selling our house prior to retirement and just living in the trailer in the final few years before retirement.  But dreams are cheap and easily changed.

We’ll see.

Out With The Old, In With The New

It’s beautiful flying weather here in California’s vast Central Valley but I don’t have a wing so I’m grounded.  Since I can’t fly anyway I decided to do some preventative maintenance on the P3 Lite.  It’s recommended by some in the PPC field that you should replace your fuel lines one a year.  They are made of plastic and slowly degrade over time.  I took the opportunity to do that this morning.  It only took an hour.  It should only take 30 minutes but we’re having unseasonably warm weather here (sorry midwest), the sun was shining, the birds were singing, I figured I’d take my time.

Here are a few pictures of before and after.  Oh, and Happy New Year!


At the bottom are the old fuel lines and fuel filter, the top is the new fuel lines and filter.


The new fuel lines and primer bulb installed on the P3.

Proud Bragging Papa

Sorry but I do feel the need to brag for a moment.  I have the most wonderful, talented, sweet daughter in the world.  I know all dads say that but in my case, it’s far truer than all the other dads in the world.  It just is.  More importantly, she has a wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ.  So allow me to brag just a bit more here in my blog space.  This is what you get when you stick with something even though it drives you crazy and you sometimes want to give up.  I’ve always encouraged her to stick with it and I’m so glad she did.

Because… this is the result.  No sheet music.  It’s all from her head.

Flying Season Is Over Or The Importance Of A Proper Preflight

Cold weather has finally descended on the valley and since flying open cockpit in 39 degree temperatures doesn’t appeal to me, flying season is over.  Now, I could fly in the afternoon when temperatures are in the low 60’s and winds are come.  Yes, I could do that.  Except that I have no wing for my aircraft.

Why do I have no wing for my aircraft?  I sent it back to the manufacturer for inspection and repair.  Repair?  Why does it need to be repaired?  Because when I landed the last time I flew, the parachute drifted down and the lines got tangled in the prop while the engine was running.  What?!  Why didn’t I turn the engine off??  I tried, but the switch fell inside the panel.  Why did it do that?  Because I didn’t perform a proper preflight inspection.

I was cold, I was in a hurry, and I didn’t properly preflight the powered parachute.  A proper preflight would normally involve checking everything for tightness… including panel switches.  You see, during warm up, the engine is running at a fairly low RPM.  This causes the whole machine to vibrate.  The switches I use are attached to the panel via a hex nut behind the panel and a nut you have to turn by your fingers on the front of the panel.  The switches stayed secure for many flights.  But some time during this last flight the engine kill switch lost the nut off the front of the switch so when I went to flip the switch down to kill the engine, the switch fell into the panel.

If I’d had my wits about me I would have throttled back up to keep the wing in the air, and then reach down and turn the fuel off.  Then just drive down the runway until the engine quit on its own.  Well, lesson learned.  Two damaged propeller blades and at least one broken line on the parachute.  I’ve already replaced the two propeller blades and sent the wing back to ASAP for inspection and repair.  Might as well do a complete inspection on the machine while I’m at it.  Replace the cheap plastic fuel fittings with all metal ones.  Replace the fuel line too while I’m at it.

Happy Holidays!