Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday Cabin Throwback Photo

Posted by: Lynne

Alex, the snuggle bunny. How we miss him!

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Saturday Cabin Throwback Photo

Posted by: Lynne

Mom and me cookin' in the kitchen. I think we were making lasagna.

Photo taken in 2004

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

You’re going to WHAT?

Posted by: Lynne

That's the kind of reaction I get when I tell people we are retiring to our cabin in Colorado. We also get lots of questions. What follows are a few examples.

Q: Where is your nearest neighbor?  A: Over the hill.

Q: Where do you get your mail?  A: We're not quite sure but we think down at the Wooden Shoe in Wyoming. We have to figure out how to do it because we live in Colorado, yet get our mail in Wyoming.

Q: Do you have electricity? A: Yes, but provided by the wind and the sun, not by any company. We do have a gas-powered backup generator. We have a propane tank for heat, range & fridge.

Q: What about phones? A: Our cell phones don't work very well up there. There is always chat on the computer! Either that or go outside and stand in a certain spot in the yard.

Q: Do you cook on the wood stove? A: Well, we can but we prefer to use our propane gas range.

Q: Do you have all-year access? A: Not really. We could be snowed in for weeks at times. It just depends on the snowfall and the wind.

Q: What happens in case of emergency?  A: In good weather the hospital in Laramie is only 45 minutes away. For winter if could be iffy. We can always sign up for a yearly contract for emergency helicopter service.

It's at this point where people's eyes are starting to glaze over ... I can tell they are losing interest.

One of our friends (whose mother is in a nursing home) asked if someone was available to come in if we needed home health care. Our answer was that if you were to the point where you needed in-home care you don't live up there anymore.

Q: Where is the nearest restaurant? Uhm, that would be Wood's Landing. It's a great place. Be sure and try the bull fries, they are actually quite good. Also feed the jukebox money and play yourself some Ian Tyson. Maybe dance a little two-step?

Q: Where is the nearest mall that has a Nordstrom's? (that question coming from neighbor Kim).  A: Hmm...not sure. Cherry Creek in Denver?

And the biggest and most frequently asked question: WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO???

Hike.

Fish.

Hopefully go horseback riding with our neighbor.

Watch the clouds.

Take the T@B and travel around. See new sights.

Take the summer one year and drive to Alaska.

Rick wants to learn how to play the guitar.

I'll continue to knit.

Read.

Look out the window.

Watch the wildlife.

Cut wood/stack wood.

Live life and enjoy every minute of it.

Any other questions?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Our New Expedition

Posted by: Rick

Ford Expedition, that is.

For three years we'd been wanting to replace our Chevy Suburban (Big Red) with a newer truck. After all, Big Red was born in 2002, and had well over 100,000 miles on him (her?). If we were going to move to the cabin and subsequently pull an RV around the country, we knew we needed a new truck.

But, we could not find an adequate replacement. We had hoped to get a new Suburban because of our loyalty to Chevrolet and the great experience we'd had with a long string of Suburbans and Tahoes over the years. But, Chevrolet had completely screwed up the cargo area several years ago. We need a large cargo area where the seats can either be removed (like in Big Red), or folded flat. Flat and level. Turns out, while you could get the cargo area in new Suburbans relatively flat, the surface was certainly not level. This is not good at all for the dogs because they'd slide to the back of the their crates. I can't imagine it works for other cargo either including groceries and other supplies. Stuff would just slide to the back of the truck. Really dumb.

I guess since 2002, the Suburban was no longer considered a working truck but rather a soccer mom / big family transport vehicle and the size and weight and 4WD was all just show.

We heard rumors that the 2015 model would fix the cargo area fiasco. So, we waited. 

It didn't.

So, we looked around at Toyota (Sequoia), Nissan (Armada), and Ford (Expedition). The Toyota was ruled out, even though it had an adequate cargo area design because it seems very big and not very responsive. After all, this would be the car Lynne often used for shopping and running errands up till the time we move. We ruled out the Ford because of the way the second row seats folded. We liked the Armada and were on the verge of buying one when we discovered that the Ford Expedition second row seats did fold flat and level! And, after a couple of test drives at Leo Kaytes Ford in Warwick, New York, we were sold.

However, Lynne had the brilliant idea to trade in our Subaru Tribeca (Becky) instead of Big Red. That way, we could use Big Red as our "beater" truck at the cabin. I was planning to buy an old used Jeep Wrangler to use for 4WD, fishing, and to put a plow on it for winter. But, if we kept Big Red, he (she?) could fill that role and we would not need to buy a vehicle. Brilliant.

So, we said goodbye to Becky (she was an annoying car, but to be fair, a very reliable one) and bought a 2015 Ford Expedition. With all the bells and whistles.

Next challenge. We like to line the cargo area with a canvas liner to protect the carpeting and seat backs. And, we've always bought our liners from Canvasback. But, they did not have what we needed. We needed a liner that would protect the entire cargo area with the 3rd seat folded down. (We never used the 3rd row seat in the Suburban and likely won't in this truck either.) And, with the 2nd row seats either up or down. I talked with the people at Canvasback and they were willing to make a custom liner. I did the measurements, drew up a proposed pattern, and sent it to them. For $159 they made a beautiful custom liner. Now that it is installed, I'd make one change to the pattern (and I've told them this in case I need to replace this some day), making it easier to raise and lower the 2nd row seats.

Canvasback custom liner:

If you need a liner for the cargo area in your car or truck, get it from these guys. They are great! While I was at it, I replaced the old, dirty liner in the Suburban.

So, now we have two large 4WD SUVs. But, I must say that the Ecoboost V6 engine on the Ford is getting good gas mileage. And, it will do very well towing Lady Bug, and any subsequent RV we choose.

We've taken another step on our way to life at the cabin! Oh, and we've named the Expedition Lex and it is definitely a guy!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Downsizing

Posted by: Rick

It is interesting that you spend many years of your life accumulating things, then reach a time when you need to get rid of those same things. 

We are about to move from a 4 bedroom, 3-1/2 bathroom, 2500 (ish) square-foot house with a basement, into a 1000 square-foot, one room, log cabin with very little storage. And, the cabin is pretty well outfitted already with kitchen gear, clothing, furniture, etc. What are we going to do with all this stuff?!

We are going through the house, room by room, cleaning and sorting. We are putting everything we own into one of several categories:

  1. We need it at the cabin and will find some way to cram it in.
  2. We likely need it at the cabin, and will store it somewhere close (maybe Laramie) where we can get easy access.
  3. We want to keep it, perhaps for some future second home, so this also goes into storage.
  4. We don't want it and it has value and we'll give it away. Goodwill Industries is a candidate charity.
  5. We have a lot of vintage and antique items that we will try to sell to a local dealer.
  6. There are some things we can leave with the house, if compensated. New owners would likely need the tractor, generator, pool equipment, for example.
  7. There is a lot of stuff that just needs to be thrown away. Hate doing this, so it is a last resort.
  8. Everything else will go in an estate sale once the house is sold.

We've been told by our realtor that we need to "declutter" the house. A polite way of telling us we've got too much stuff, I think. So, our priority is on getting the house looking good for showing. That means working on everything that can be seen as you walk through the house. We'll work on the "hidden" things in cabinets and cupboards later. We've got the upstairs in pretty good shape with one bedroom that we used as a junk room still needing some care. The bathrooms and closets upstairs look pretty good. So, it is just in need of a deep cleaning next.

Downstairs, the living room is okay, but still needs some decluttering. The dining room is in good shape and we've whipped the office into a presentable state. The kitchen is not bad, but the garage needs work. We've boxed up and given away hundreds of books with many more to go. There is a local Friends of the Library charity that will take these.

Then, there is the basement. What a mess. But, it is too damned cold to try to tackle that right now. There are boxes and boxes of stuff we moved from Colorado, some of which have never been opened! There is the cheese making and wine making equipment. (I'll keep the cheese making gear.) Unused furniture, tools, dog showing paraphernalia, puzzles, record albums, (this list could go on a long time).

We meet with the realtor to sign a contract and kick off the selling process on Wednesday. We'll be asking him for recommendations for local storage facilities--we'll move stuff we want to keep out of the house as much as possible. We need to find a cleaning service or house cleaner that can help us get the house into showable shape and keep it that way. 

And, we have a few minor repairs to make and some painting to do. Shampoo carpets. And, we'll be good-to-go!

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