Thursday, August 21, 2014

Progress report

We’re making good progress on our plans.  As you might expect if you know us, we have a list of 23 topics to research or take care of.  We’ve now got a handle on 8 of those.  For example, we bought a travel bag with wheels, the first one we’ve ever had.  For the past 20 years we’ve used two backpack-style bags for all our trips, always putting them in the overhead bins.  Now we’ll have to decide whether to still use those two and also check the new wheeled case, or just use one backpack and one wheeled one and put both in the overhead bins.

We’ve decided how to handle the mail.  There’s a mailbox service in the Belltown area of Seattle that seems suitable.  They’ll throw away any junk mail that gets forwarded from our old address, and will mail to us anything we want.

We’ve made a major decision about March and April.  Before, we’d thought that we might ask for an extension to the lease.  But now we realize that it will be best to take care of the disposal of some stuff and moving other stuff into storage well before May 1.  So we’ll handle those tasks in February, and by March 1 we’ll be moving to the boat.  We’ll take a 3-week car trip to Portland and other parts of Oregon in March and April, as a trial run of our nomadic lifestyle.  Does the mailbox get too full?  Are we able to do everything we want on the computer, such as making blog entries with photos?

Speaking of computers, just today we bought a very inexpensive Windows laptop.  It was tempting to make do with our Chromebook, which Les likes a lot although I have trouble typing on it.  But Les feels there are times when we'll need a little more capability than the Chromebook can offer.  For one thing, although Les has found someone to take over as administrator of the MorseKOB system, he may want to work on enhancements to the program.

Our boat, the Pied-a-Mer, is currently set up for spending one or two nights at a time.  In order to live there for weeks, with no other “home”, we’ll have to re-think what’s there.  I’d want a lot more cooking appliances there, and we’d need to store clothing, have another comfortable chair, things like that.  I’ve already made lists of “bring from apartment to boat”, “sell from boat”, “sell from apartment”, “give away”, etc.  Other questions: Would I want my sewing machine and all the fabrics and equipment?  How about the printer/copier?  And how to make the best use of what we call the “sunroom” on top, which is now virtually unused?

Les likes the idea of a base city in Europe, a place we go back to several times and think of as “home”.  A few weeks ago, we tentatively settled on Frankfurt, but today we’re thinking more of Ghent.  It seems to be a charming place, is the third-best vegan city in Europe (after Prague and Berlin), and is pretty good as a rail hub.  And we already found a B&B that we like there.  (We have the best luck by using TripAdvisor for finding lodging, and also ideas of what’s attractive in each city.)

Oh, and we’ve added a new destination on the North American part of the journey.  It’s Point Pelee in Ontario.  My New Jersey high school friend, who’s a big birder, has often gone there to enjoy the spring migration.  We should hit it at just the right time, about May 9.  Point Pelee is a peninsula on the north side of Lake Erie.  I’m really excited to think of seeing all the interesting birds there.

We’re also thinking about a new destination in Europe.  It’s really far-out (literally).  A friend of David has a relative with a cottage on  a small island in the Orkney Islands north of Scotland.  The population of that island is about 25.  The relative only uses the cottage in the winter, so we’d be able to spend a few days there in the summer.  It would be an adventure just to reach it from London, via trains, ferries, and buses.  We’ll have to mull that over in the coming months.

We’re both getting more excited with every week.  Sometimes it seems hard to wait until March to get going.