Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Posted by: Lynne

Snowy Range in Wyoming (field full of Sky Pilots)

We are in serious countdown mode now. One month from now we will be on the road! Boxes are sprouting up everywhere around us, as are stacks of things that are "organized." I went through the fridge and emptied all the glass containers of stuff I knew we wouldn't eat so they could go in the recycle today since we only have one more glass/can recycle day left. Yikes. The freezer is mostly emptied out except for a few packets of chicken thighs and a few other things. I stopped buying in bulk a while ago but we will still have lots of toilet paper left!

It seems unreal at this point. Is this really happening? The fuel oil delivery truck just came to top up the fuel tank and I quickly ran outside and asked him to only fill us about halfway since we were leaving soon. Can't forget to call and undo the propane delivery for the pool heater either.

I'm excited yet I'm a bit scared if you really want to know the truth. Will our cabin life dream be all that we hope it will be? It's easy to doubt when we haven't been there in almost a year but I know the minute we step foot into our little home all doubts will vanish. I know there are a lot of you out there that think we are crazy. After all, how many people want to live in a remote cabin with limited winter access 45 mintues from the nearest facilities of any kind? I was going to put up some kind of voting poll on the blog with the question "Are Rick and Lynne crazy to do this?" and then have two buttons for Yes or No but Rick can't figure out exactly how to make it work. Feel free to vote in the comment section of the blog (not on FaceBook, please) so we can keep track of just how crazy (or not) we are. I think it would be fun to see what you all think!

I can't wait to experience the full wildflower blooming season, and I hope it's a good one. For the past ten years (have we really lived in NJ that long?) we've only seen the very beginning of spring or the fall season depending on what time of year we did our vacation. My new camera will be getting a workout instead of just sitting here on my desk begging to be used. (I now have a Canon EOS 80D, new macro lens, new telephoto lens after trading in my old Rebel and assorted lenses.) 

My brand new fly-fishing rod is also waiting patiently to be used!

My head is spinning with all that needs to be done here: changes of addresss (we hope that goes smoothly but if you've kept up with Rick's failed mail service blogs you know we still have to work on it), turning off cable & phone, final sorting and arranging before the movers arrive, the arrival of the movers and them being here for two days, preparing for the estate sale, the estate sale for three days ... well you get the idea.

After this weekend we only have two more weekends before the movers come and they arrive the day after the second weekend so that one will be super chaotic.

Bring it on, I say! Let's get those SUV's rollin' westward!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Route Plan

Posted by: Rick

We have the house closing set for early morning on the 12th of May. Lynne and I want to get "on the road" asap after that. So, we've been mapping out a route to the cabin that has a few constraints:

  1. We don't want to go more than between 500 and 600 miles each day.
  2. Would like to arrive at the cabin early in the afternoon. (This leaves plenty of time to get the cabin "running", unpack, etc.)
  3. Need a contingency place to park the travel trailer if the roads are muddy.
  4. Will only have 1/2-day of travel the first day.
  5. Need to stay in motels that are pet friendly.

I think we have a plan.

We'll load both trucks on the 11th and be ready to go. We've done this many times to prepare for vacation, so this should be easy. We will hook up the T@B (travel trailer) to the Expedition and have it ready to go, also. We will leave the dogs and cat in the empty house and take the loaded Suburban to the closing, which is about 30 minutes away. When the closing is done, we'll drive back to the house to pick up the animals. Lynne will drive the Suburban and I'll drive the Expedition.

I think we will then be able to head West around noon. Our first overnight stop would be Clarion, PA. That is about a 308 mile drive, so about 6 hours. Not bad for a first day.

The second day will be the long one, but shooting for Davenport, IA, seems to make sense. 627 miles, probably about 12 hours of driving. That is a longish day, but if we leave around 7:00 a.m. we should arrive around 6:00 in the evening. We get the advantage of a time change.

The third day will be shorter and we'll strive for North Platte, NE. This is about 577 miles, maybe 11 hours of driving. And, another free hour with the time change.

We've found Comfort Inns in each of these places that are well rated and pet friendly, so that is whom we will likely make reservations with.

Finally, we will make it in to Laramie after another 270 miles or roughly 5-1/2 hours of drving. That should put us into Laramie around noon. We'll do some minimal shopping (meals for a couple of days), then head to the cabin. That is another 25 miles or so, and will take 45 minutes. If the roads are muddy, we'll need a place to store the travel trailer. We don't have that sorted out yet, but maybe the storage facility where we will store some household goods would allow us to park there for a few days? We hope the roads are not muddy and we can take the trailer directly into the cabin.

So, that's the plan. About 1,800 miles. About 35 hours of driving. (We usually make it in 31 hours without the trailer.)

Wish us luck!

Friday, April 08, 2016


Posted by: Rick

When I got paid last week, it occurred to me that it was one of the last paychecks I'm likely to get in my life.

I've been earning a paycheck since I was a pre-teen. mowing lawns, paper route, radio DJ, data processing at a bank, computer operator at White Sands, satellite tracking technician, service engineer for HP, then many other jobs in HP, Agilent, Verigy, finally landing as VP of Marketing at Vision Research. Wow, probably close to 50 years of earning a paycheck. And, all without a break where I was unemployed.

This is scary. No more paychecks?

I've gotten very used to the idea of something coming in every couple of weeks to offset what gets paid out, and to have something left to set aside. Now, we'll have to be pulling from that "set aside" to live.

I will likely take on some periodic consulting or contract work in retirement. But no regular paycheck.

Very scary. But, the freedom of not getting up each week day with the obligation to put in a day's work for a paycheck very exciting. I have no idea what that is like.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Mailing Address Success!

Posted by: Rick

Okay, I've made this claim before but I think we finally have success at establishing a mailing address.

I've sent two letters recently. And, a neighbor (who is checking our mail box and letting us know when mail succeeds) sent a few postcards to our address. All have arrived! (Our neighbor has not checked recently since there is too much snow to get out to the mailboxes.)

I will continue to send something about once a week until we start to forward mail. Of course, at that point there will be plenty of mail addressed to the cabin to establish reliable and on-going delivery.

Still, it is a weird address. And, not "legal" according to the USPS. One small example that came up yesterday is probably only the tip of the iceberg. I changed my phone over from AT&T to Verizon. I've been a loyal AT&T customer for many, many years, but we cannot get their cell signal at the cabin. We can get Verizon...sometimes. Anyway, I needed to establish an online account to set up billing, etc. When I typed in the cabin address, it would not accept it since it was not an address recognized by anyone (after all it is a "virtual" address that no GPS would recognize, and the USPS does not recognize it either).

Friday, February 19, 2016

I Take it Back

Posted by: Rick

This is a follow up post to Mail Box Success. I take it back. Between mid-November, when I wrote that post, and now, I've done two additional test mailings. After all, we are getting closer and closer to needing to forward our mail, and I want to continue to remind the postal carrier about us and our address. 

Unfortunately, neither of the subsequent mailings have been successful. Both have been returned.

I'm sending the most recent return, with its little yellow "Return to Sender, No Such Street, Unable to Forward" sticker back to a neighbor to actually show to the letter carrier and ask "what's up?" After all, why can't a letter mailed to an invalid Laramie, WY address, meant for a remote cabin in CO, to be delivered to a mail box at the Wooden Shoe Ranch, not find its way?


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