Monday, October 6, 2014

3..2..1…LIFT OFF!

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It may have taken 6 months (rather than the 3 originally projected) to get every last item of my household either sold, donated, stored, or trashed, but the job finally, FINALLY got finished on the very last day of September.

My final week in Chicago was jam-packed with activity in preparation for Lift Off—getting a few final Craigslist items sold, scanning over 1,000 old photos, getting the Winnie and Tracker serviced at their favorite mechanics, consolidating bank accounts, installing solar panels on the Winnie’s roof, and lots of shared “bon voyage” meals with family and friends.

I enjoyed a great breakfast and non-stop conversation with fellow View-Navion owners from Colorado, Hans and Ursula, as they traveled through Chicago.  As is normally the case when RVers meet up, we chatted about all kinds of travel destinations, RV/Sprinter mods, and general tips/discoveries to improve our nomadic lives.  But after seeing Hans’ sparkling clean RV, I made it a point the next day to give my dirty Winnie a thorough washing!!!  I hope our paths cross again this Winter as Hans and Ursula make their way to/from the Baja.

There were a few final days of temps over 70 degrees in Chicago, so I hurried to get my 300 watts of flexible Renogy solar panels mounted to the roof of the Winnie (the 3M Dual Lock SJ3560 that I’d be using to secure them, requires temps above 68 degrees). 

I’ll write up a full post on the solar install very soon, but here’s a quick preview--


I was worried that just using Dual Lock (aka “toll pass Velcro”) alone without caulking the edges of each panel would not sufficiently keep the panels secured, but the Dual Lock has VHB adhesive (which is the method of choice to mount the heavier traditional panels to a fiberglass View-Navion roof), so they’ve managed to survive their first week on the roof (and now 1200 miles of travel) just fine so far!

So, with chores now done, farewell celebrations complete, and the forecast for Chicago now heading colder, it was time for Millie and I to leave the comforts of my sister’s driveway and start our migration south and west as fully official full-time RVers.

We departed on October 1st to beeline it to Colorado to visit with my brother and his family for the weekend before they headed out of town.  Our first night as “fully full-timers” was spent at  (where else?!) a lovely Wal-Mart parking lot in Des Moines, Iowa that was adjacent to a gently flowing creek and nice greenway with a bike/walking path.

I think we’re really going to like being full-timers!



  1. Finally!! You're on the road, and starting the life I dream about. Be safe, drive straight and keep the stories and pictures coming.

    Cheers! Peter.

  2. Bravo! Will be following your journey. Look forward to seeing how the new solar panels work out.
    J. Dawg

  3. ...and so the next path down lifes' road begins. Have fun with it, looking forward to hearing your adventures and seeing some fabulous photos.

    1. Thanks Contessa. If you guys come to (or thru) the SW this winter, hope our routes align!

  4. Congratulations!!!! May your journeys be safe and your memories awesome!!!!

  5. Ok now the good life begins travel safe and be happy. Can't wait to hear how these panels work out for you, would like to add them to my camper next year.

    1. I'm gathering all the parts list now for the solar post.

  6. Congratulations! I've been checking in regularly waiting anxiously for this day. Enjoy every day and travel safe.

  7. Yee ha, as we say in the south~! I'm absolutely thrilled for you and Millie. HOPE our paths cross some day here in San Miguel. I'm SO envious of your new life and the new season of your life! ENJOY!

  8. Hope you have a delightful, hassle free trip, we are headed South too, first as fulltimers, so much work getting ready to go, I thought it would never happen. Can't wait to get to Baja! Perhaps we'll see you somewhere along the way?


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