Sunday, February 6, 2022

Enough Already, We Are Heading South!

Several months ago, we made the decision we were going to try out retirement this  winter by traveling and heading South to Texas to see our son and family. So basically, I have been  watching the calendar daily as the days are getting closer to leaving. The plan is to leave and take several days to get to El Paso, stay a week or so, and then slowly head along the border and up around the Gulf to Louisiana, take a left and go back home. And hope that by about the time we are heading home, Spring will be close to coming to Minnesota. At least maybe only another 60-90 days of winter when we get back.

We have never done a Winter vacation before, so the prepping has been a little different with packing and readying the C.O.W. (or our camper. on. wheels. as we call it). 
Everything was hauled out and the lines were all winterized last October before the cold weather set in. Stuff was put in to keep any mice from taking up residence in the C.O.W. and it was parked along the driveway in order to get to it and dig it out when we were ready to hitch it up and take off in the winter. It is somewhat buried in the snow right now and it will take a little digging to get it out and on the driveway. But unless we get any major snow, we should get it out of the parked spot pretty easily. 

I have started a list of what we need to pack, because even with a list of supplies, I know we will forget a list of things that were absolutely needed for the trip. And my idea of vacation is to not spend any time in any stores shopping. Unless maybe a yarn store or a kayak store. I could go in those stores and still feel like I was on vacation.

As for the packing list, it consists of packing clothes for winter and summer wear, hiking boots and flip flops, red buffalo plaid flannel shirts and t-shirts, jeans and shorts. Since we will be in weather with a 60-80 degrees range difference, we have to pack for all seasons. Along with the winter/summer clothing, I will be packing even the winter jackets/hats and mittens. And sleeping bags for -0 weather will possibly be needed, so they will also  be packed.

Traveling with the 2 dogs, is a whole other packing adventure that will happen. Collars, ID tags, leashes, brushes, long ropes, food, and food dishes and water dishes will be in a bin. Traveling with Zoe and Max is not a hardship, but they do take up about 200 lbs. of space in the back of the vehicle, so much planning on how to pack Big Eddie, the Expedition, plays into the prepping for vacation.

Along with putting the dogs in the back of the Expedition, we are hauling our E-bikes we got last Summer. It’ll be the first time hauling them and trying to figure out a safe theft-proof place was a bit of a challenge. While they could be on the back of the C.O.W. on a bike rack, it seemed a little iffy on the security when we would be parked somewhere. Even with strong locks, they still can be cut and stolen. So the plan is to fold them in half, put them in totes and hoist them into Big Eddie’s cargo area behind the dogs. Not as easy to see and hopefully more secure. 

While the plan is to not eat out a ton, we will do some restaurants or carry out, but otherwise we will plan to cook on a grill outside the C.O.W. under the awning in the open. We have a gas line that will hook into the camp stove from the big propane tank. But in case of rain or weather of some sort, the new Instantpot is getting packed for indoor cooking. Several already cooked meals have been prepped and frozen to put in the freezer for reheating along the way down. 

We right now have a pile of things to remember to bring with us sitting by the front door in the living room and it is starting to overflow a bit. It is stuff that will be brought out to the C.O.W. when it is pulled up closer to the house. Right now it is parked about ½ block from the house down the driveway. After a few falls on the ice this winter, I will just have a cluttered living room rather than do the banana peel slip as I try to walk like a penguin down the driveway.

The other thing that I always pack when going on longer trips, besides the rabies shots for the dogs…the title to Big Eddie and the C.O.W. Yep, I have done that the past 10 years of traveling in case, just in case, they let us down along the way. I always have the vision of being stuck in some town with a blown engine or broken trailer axle or something unfixable. I guess the titles in hand give me some comfort knowing we could trade in a vehicle and keep going. So for me it is just probably an unnecessary thing to do, but it brings me a bit of comfort knowing we may not have to be stranded as our vehicles are older.

The weather continues to be cold here in the North, so the thought of making the lists and starting to pack to head South for a few weeks is ever so exciting and a little overwhelming. I am just hoping we can not be so overpacked that we are cramped and constantly having to rearrange stuff so we fit in the camper or vehicle. All the while watching the two dogs sprawled out in their areas resting in total warmth and comfort. But right now, I’m just counting the days and climbing over the pile of stuff near the front door. Can’t wait until we are headed down the dirt road to the highway and pointing South!

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