It didn’t start out as a shake-up.  At no time were we thinking, “Hey let’s just throw a bomb into the middle of our comfortable life and change everything.”  We had a plan and were taking steps to implement it.  As MW’s retirement date approached, we were getting excited about having more free time and doing some traveling.   A few years prior we purchased a large parcel of land in Tennessee with plans to build there later.  The final piece of the puzzle was finding a travel trailer.  After making a list of our needs, wants, and definitely don’t wants, we found the perfect size for our travel plans and dubbed her Penelope.

Penelope and Brutus in Balanced Rock Park, ID

Penelope is a Forest River Rockwood Mini Lite 2109S.  She is basically a Microtel plus kitchen on wheels…one room with a queen bed, microwave, oven, stove, sink, fridge, couch, and bathroom.  After a couple of weekend outings to see how we used her, we made a few modifications:  1) added a second level of shelves in the cabinets (Who needs one big opening that is 15″ tall??),  2) added an electric management system,  3) replaced the plastic toilet with a ceramic one (if you have ever sat on a plastic toilet and heard the squeaky, squeaky, squeaky, you know this was a must), and 4) MW built me a lovely shoe cabinet that fits behind the couch and holds five or six pairs (because I don’t go anywhere for more than a day or two without plenty of shoes).  Finally, Penelope was pretty darned perfect.

Retirement came in May, but I had surgery right after that, which delayed our departure a bit.  When I was feeling better, we made a few more short, weekend trips before hitting the road. The first long outing was three weeks in August to visit family in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Texas.  All went well, and we had a LOT of fun!  Convinced that we had it all down, we headed out on the big twenty-fifth anniversary road trip to Hawaii.  (Yes, you heard me correctly.  See Planes, Trains, Automobiles, RVs, & Cruise Ships.)

Sometime during that two-month odyssey, we were discussing the future, Tennessee, building a house, and moving away from the Boogers.  MW is concerned that we will get settled into our new home, and then I will hate it.  I can’t say that it won’t happen.  I have friends, family, work, and volunteer jobs in Greensboro that keep me busy when I am there.  But having moved nineteen times to different cities in my life, I have a history of adapting well and making friends easily.   Who knows how it will play out this time?  However, during that conversation he said maybe we should just live in the RV for a while in Tennessee before we build.  WHAT????!!!!  

Deep breaths.  My head was spinning.  What would we do with all of our stuff??  Could we afford it??  Would we sell the house in Greensboro??  Rent it??  What would our life look like??  Could I still do some work??  Wait…OH HELL NO!  I love you, Honey, but there is no way I am living in one tiny room with you FULL TIME!!

You know, when we bought Penelope, several people said that it was our “first” RV and that we would definitely be trading up at least once or twice. “Heck, some folks just trade up every couple of years until they decide they are through RVing!”  We didn’t think we were “those people” for a minute.  Our plan was to have sweet Penelope until she died, just like a pet.  In all fairness, if the shakeup hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t even consider getting something else.  But it seems there’s a new plan in town and it requires open minds and a larger living space.

Enter the search for Petunia…stay tuned.


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