The Inaugural Voyage - Winter 2008 travel blog

get me out of here!

the snow is beautiful

but it make driving dangerous

and the cold seeps into your bones

Living our entire lives in the Chicago area has given us enough experience with winter to know that we'd just as soon avoid it as much as possible. Since we've retired we've headed south after the holidays. We've been telling people that we are on a quest to find the perfect spot to retire to. In reality there is no perfect spot. Every part of the country has its problems with Mother Nature and our home in the middle of the country is ideally located as a place to escape from any time of the year. We complain about the traffic and delays at O'Hare, but it also offers lots of competition which means reasonable fares to much of the world non stop.

So far we've spent winter in southern CA, Mexico, AZ and TX. Virtually our entire neighborhood heads to FL for at least part of the winter so it seems like time to give it a try. With all the hurricane damage FL has sustained, it really isn't on our list as a place where we would want to purchase property. We hear that it's challenging to get home owner's insurance which is pricey at best. We've experienced FL in the summer and the heat and humidity were as unpleasant as the cold and snow we are trying to avoid. We've been made to feel very welcome during our winters in TX and hear that FL is so overrun with geezers, that we will be made to feel like a burden rather than an appreciated bearer of cash. The campgrounds are also more expensive and we've made no reservations so we won't know the tariff for sure until we get there. Since the Canadian dollar is worth more than ours for the first time in forever, we suspect we will be competing with more of our friends from the northland for those campsite spots. We've only made a handful of reservations which means we will take our chances at finding a spot in campgrounds. But it is exciting to think that we can go with the flow and move on whenever the mood strikes.

This past December has been especially cold and snowy, so it was a challenge to find a warm-ish day to bring the motor home to our home and test the furnace, something we couldn't do in August. The double glazed windows made it feel cozy inside so we feel optimistic that we will be comfortable even on those first few days driving south. The batteries were low - at about 25%. This puts a solar panel on the shopping list. The one we had on the trailer kept the batteries topped off and made them last much longer. The slides went in and out, something you can't take for granted in cold temperatures. Unlike our old trailer, the slides have little awnings which should help with snow and freezing rain, but we'd just as soon not find out how effective they really are.

With the new motor home we have room for everything we want to bring with us. Golf clubs, tennis rackets and bicycles are safely stowed. After being housebound for six weeks, it will feel great to be outside once again. Hopefully, we've packed everything we can't replace on the road. We feel so lucky to be starting 2008 heading toward the sun. Happy New Year!

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