Thursday, February 17, 2011


I have a reputation for being a chronic planner.  Whether detailing a product-oriented work breakdown structure for a “flight system”, or developing a spreadsheet itinerary for a three week vacation some six months in the future, I enjoy planning.  Perhaps it goes back to fond childhood memories.
The early 1950’s home of our family of five, maybe 900 square foot in size, had a single room for cooking, laundry and dining.  Our Dad, ever the “function over aesthetic” practitioner, took our round wooden dining table to a local construction shop where they covered the table’s top with a glue-on thin-sheet Formica-type product (and cut off the wooden legs and welded a center aluminum-clad metal stand that looked something like a large aluminum spool).  

I wish I could say I knew the conversation that took place between husband and wife over this action, but my childhood innocence never even considered such conversations.  I just liked the Formica-type top because pencil marks erased so easily.  And so this Formica-covered round table, maybe four foot in diameter, served as our family’s favorite work space, as well as seating for five when devouring our Mother’s southern-style dinners and our Dad’s daily supply of homemade waffles for breakfast.  

My fond memories are tied to spending many a winter evening, after school and athletic practice, sitting at this kitchen table with homework in front of me, watching our mother fry that night’s dinner on the gas stove, and watching our dad, seated across the table with a spread of maps and library travel books, plan our next family camping trip.   I knew something good was coming from both, but the trip planning interested me way more than the cooking.  

Our dad sat at that table, night after night, and planned those trips.  It was a sad day when our parent’s health caused them to no longer travel. Visits back home found Dad sitting at the table playing solitaire rather than planning trips, and Mother still cooking, but not the wonderful meals of our childhood.
I don’t know if my love of planning is tied to the memory of childhood camping trips, or to the smell of fried foods, but I am a happy planner.  It doesn’t mean I don’t have a spontaneous side, but spending time creating a plan has always seemed a part of the fun.  

But this last year and a half  my life has changed in some ways that were almost spontaneous:  moving from my home of 19 years to downsize into a smaller stick house, and retiring from a wonderfully long career.  You’d think I’d at least planned the retirement part, but spontaneity can be a wonderful thing. And so here I am:  downsized and not earning taxable income.
And with this new set of life tags, I'm "planning" to spend much of my time RVing the 48 contiguous states.  You won’t find me planning overseas trips or cruises; I’ll leave those for “travel by flight” family and friends.  But I do hope to lay plans for spending a great deal of time in our country’s beautiful national and state parks, and the back roads in between.  

Of course any day spent with family or friends is the best kind of day, whether in a stick house, RV or other’s homestead.  A wonderful attribute (forgive the software speak) of the RV lifestyle is that “home port” can be a commercial park close to family or friends, providing the perfect interlude before going back on the road, headed to the next planned or spontaneous stop to bird or hike or take in the view.  

I do know, as well as most other over half-centurions, that the best laid plans can be trashed by unforeseen events. But when it comes to trip planning, my cup is always more than half full.

And so I begin this blog as  I begin a new lifestyle, with no greater plan than to share my adventures and experiences.   

I should note that since retiring, I have actively given myself some time “on the playground”, avoiding schedule commitments and “have to” responsibilities for awhile.  Will I blog daily?  Probably not--OK, surely not.  But I do hope to post pictures and experiences frequently.  I’ll encourage you to save my blog link and check in regularly, as you wish—especially if you need a quick break from your daily responsibilities, or if you should need help overcoming a night’s insomnia.  My writing "might just" be the ticket back to sleep.
Tomorrow I "plan" to post the latest progress and pictures of the CoachHouse build--and greetings from the valley. 

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