« Demolition day II | Main | General Contractor »

The Lock and Leave House, Part II

Since we are stuck immobile for another few days, I've been pondering ways to keep the blog relevant to the topic of full-time Airstream travel. While I know watching us renovate a house doesn't seem exciting, it is really part of the travel experience. We need a home base that we can leave behind easily, without maintenance obligations piling up behind us every time we hit the road.

So, our process of making our house "road worthy" is absolutely a part of what we need to do. If we do it right, we'll still have the freedom to travel. The trick is to keep the house low maintenance and affordable. That's why we are making this investment of time and money now.

It hasn't been much fun. In the last week, we had an electrician, a handyman, a tree trimmer, a landscaper, and a chimney sweep come to visit and provide services for the house. This week we'll have a a roofing team, flooring team, a plumber, a pair of drywall finishers, a painter, and gutter service. To get all this to happen, I've spent hours on the telephone and collecting estimates. Then I wonder if they'll show up, or even return my call.

I'm beginning to think that the appeal of being "on the road" is really more about not having the hassle and expense of a house behind you. But why kid ourselves? Owning a house is a substantial complication and we knew that going in. The interesting part will be discovering whether we can get the house to fade into the background and no longer occupy such a large slice of our energy and time.

It's hard to be optimistic about that after the week we've had, but in a few days or a week, things will look better. In any case, the countdown to departure is looking better. If everyone performs as promised we can leave as early as Saturday. That means we'll have time to go visit some national parks in northern Arizona or Utah.

I mentioned this to the roofer today. I said, "We live here now -- we can always go see the Grand Canyon later." He coughed and muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "Bull---!" (Have to admit, I was surprised at his audacity, considering he was there to give me a quote. All the other contractors tried to agree with everything I said.)

But he was right. When you live somewhere, it's easy to overlook the great things to do right in your backyard. There are many people here who have never been to the Grand Canyon despite having lived here for decades. It's always a place to go "someday". That's a trap we could fall into as well. I'll have to watch for that. So if we can possibly swing it, we will lock the door and leave early, and get back to the business of seeing America one day at a time.


Actually, I find what you have to say about home ownership as interesting and relevant as your writing about travel. Many of your readers have homes and must consider how they will behave in their absence.

We had an interesting (?) experience a couple of years ago where wind blew part of our roof off while we were on our way to Alaska. That caused us to return home to deal with repairs and reevaluate how well our place would take care of itself while we were gone.

“…watching us renovate a house doesn't seem exciting….” Actually, I do find that exciting as that is what I do during a lot of my spare time. But as Dr. C. pointed out, the weblog and the levitating Airstream is stuck somewhere between HGTV and DIY. Having said that, I’m in complete agreement with your decision to set-up a permanent home base, so that Emma can attend school and have some roots.

Your roofer is a wise man. I have lived a half a mile from one of the best surfing beaches on the Atlantic coast for over 25 years. Don’t ask me how often I go there. My relatives and friends, who visit, take me to all the unique places around here that I never see.

Randy and your roofer are so right. I lived in Phoenix and Tucson for years and never made to the GC. But I move to NY and guess what? ROAD TRIP to the GC...weird, wild stuff...

I understand the 'never going to your backyard' part. We have lived, for 22 years, within 40 miles of Sequoia NP and less than 180 from Yosemite. The total visits to each are 8 and 2 respectively!


Go see the Grand Canyon. I was born in Orange County, CA and have never been to Catalina Island, 26 miles across the sea.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Please enter the security code you see here