When you live in Texas you have to be ready for anything.  Yesterday, I had the feeling I should get up on the roof and repair that piece of corner trim that had got bent by a tree branch in the Fort Davis mountains.  Glad I did!

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we enjoyed temperatures of 80 degrees, and so were the Texas State Longhorn herd who also reside here!  The day after, we were talking with our neighbor, David, while the dogs played outside at San Angelo State Park.  Perfect day for completing our repair; slightly cloudy, with a temperature of 78 degrees and hardly any wind at all.  Then, literally within 5 seconds, the temperature dropped 15 to 20 degrees as a front blew in across the lake.  Last night we crashed at our parent’s house as the storm created 30 to 40mph winds.  Today (Sunday, December 27th), we are below freezing with blizzard conditions expected to last through the night.

It could be worse.  Currently, the death toll in the Fort Worth area has reached 11.  Tornado’s have leveled properties, and at least one RV park (Plantation RV Park near Sunnyvale, TX).  We are about a 5 hour drive from there.  Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

If you are in Texas, and you don’t like the current weather, stick around – it could change very quickly.

Four Seasons Christmas

This topic is one that keeps repeating in different ways throughout my life.

When you live in a little less than 500 sq. ft., simplicity becomes paramount.  We moved from a 2200 sq. ft., 4-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath house into our RV, and that proved to be a process.

Round one began with going through each room in the house and throwing things out – obvious things.  Then came the packing round; this is for storage, this is for the RV, this we have no idea what to do with it, but we can’t bring ourselves to throw it away just yet!

The reality was that we would have several rounds of selling, throwing out, giving nice things to charity, and family members.  If we had known just how many times we would move the same objects around, and how many miles we would transport it, before we would arrive at our final inventory, we may have given up before we started!  SO. MUCH. STUFF!  Things we don’t even use, but that are “too nice” to part with.  If you have a house, no matter how big it is, you WILL fill it.

Are our lives the same way?  How much time do you spend maintaining your “stuff”?  How many years are wasted in futile pursuits?  The average American spends 9.1 years of their life watching TV.  Of that 9.1 years, 2 years are spent watching commercials (sorry).  Ladies spend a total of 17 years trying to lose weight.  You will spend 2 years of your life sitting in boring, pointless meetings at work, when an email would have worked as well.  All of this time, energy, and money spent on our “stuff”.

Simplicity is an art-form.  The wise seek it out, and work hard to maintain it.  The temptations can be many, and we are weak.

Having said that, in our “simple” home, we still have three flat screen TV’s, two computers, one all-in-one printer, two Apple TV’s, a Wii, three iPhones, one iPod, two DVD player’s, two microwaves, two refrigerators, communications equipment, etc., etc.!  This is our “simplicity”!

Maybe, we still have a lot to learn…

The Art of Simplicity

Our Rig is our Home!  It took us months to figure out exactly what to go for, and with a family of 6 (4 humans, 1 cat, 1 dog), we needed to be sure that we had everything we needed.

The fifth wheel is a 2015 Forest River Sandpiper 365 SAQB.  The manufacturer specifications can be found here, but the basics are that it is 41′ 7″ long, 13′ tall, and weighs in at 15,500 lbs GVWR.  With these specs we needed a brute of a truck!

Our truck remained elusive for some time.  We were looking at a used Ford F250, and a F350 Dually at a local dealer lot.  The Dually was sold by the time we were ready to buy, and the specs on the F250 only just met the towing requirements (we knew we would add more weight with additions we were planning).  We did not know what to do but, we knew that just the right truck would surface at just the right time.

This is a common theme – it’s commonly called “Faith” and, trust me, it does not come easy.  Faith also does not always result in the outcome we expect.

One day, I walked into our office (“bricks and sticks” version) and Denise, our Director of Communications, tells me about her brother-in-law’s truck.  He was wanting to sell it.  I did not call him until the Dually disappeared from the lot, but I sure am glad that I did!  The truck was low mileage for a 2009, had been kept in covered storage, and was already kitted out for towing.  Perfect.

So, here are the specs on our AWESOME truck:

It’s a Chevy Silverado 2500HD LTZ with the 6.6 liter diesel engine partnered with an Allison transmission.  This means that the truck has 660 ft lbs of torque and has a towing capacity of 22,000 lbs.  By comparison the 2500 HD with the V8 only has 380 ft lbs of torque.  There are some extras on the truck, but that is for another post.  Safe to say that it pulls Our Moving House really well!

It has only let us down once, but that was not the fault of the truck.  A four-legged creature was involved.  But, that’s another story.

The Rig