Wednesday, July 15, 2009

We're off

You Bet, we're off. Probably in more ways than one! We left our house in the capable hands of our daughter, Kris and took off. That sounds so easy, but it was a real hassle.

We had planned to fly down to Belize, but for lots of reasons, we decided to drive. The most important one was our dog, Bailey. We'd rescued him from the Humane Society nearly 2 years ago and he's a huge part of our lives. He's an Akita, and during his final trip to the vet to get his final shot and travel certificates, he weighed in at a healthy 111 pounds. We bo't a used 2000 Toyota Tundra, extended cab so that he would have a place to ride. Another big reason to buy this truck is that we need one in Belize that is a 4x4.

Even tho' we'd sent most of our worldly possessions to LA with Roy, we still had things that we needed to the last. We boxed them up and started to load the truck. What a laugh. It's a 6' bed and we had twice as much stuff as it would hold. We had to either abandon half our stuff or rent a U-Haul. We finally left (pulling a small U-Haul) nearly a day late. We had to leave by Friday because we had renters coming into our house for a week, that Saturday. After all that waiting, we were cutting it a little short. This meant another change of plans. We now had to go to LA to drop off the excess with Roy and get rid of the trailer. I don't think U-Haul would appreciate our taking their trailer to Belize, not to mention the Mexicans!

I won't bore you (that assumes anyone will ever read this) with the details of our trip south. We headed to Florence on the Oregon coast and then down 101 all the way to LA. Traffic was light, no trucks and the country was much more pleasant to see than that along I-5. We sailed along, thinking we were doing just great until LA ! ! ! Ich! I've never liked it and now I like it even less. People drive like maniacs. 6 lanes one-way, everyone driving at least 80, following about 6" behind the next guy. Art drove while I navigated, but what I really did was scream, clench my teeth and generally make Art nuts. It's a wonder he didn't kick me out of the truck. It doesn't bother me to drive, but I'm the world's worst passenger. (This is where Art jumps in and says, "that's an understatement").

Wonder of all wonders, we made it to Roy's, dropped off the stuff, dropped off the trailer and headed east as fast as our chubby little bodies and clenched teeth would allow us. We couldn't get out of California fast enough. Sadly we ended up spending the night in Blythe, CA, but almost out of the state. Would you believe that the temp in Blythe that days was 113. Now I'm really screaming.

Here, the disappointing fact is that Roy probably won't leave for 1-2 weeks, so we now find that we have to wander around and wait for him to leave so that we can caravan with him. As I write this we are in Prescott, AZ. in the mountains. All we could think about was to get out of the heat and head for the mtns. Hope we can afford this wandering.

I'm not going to chronicle all our wanderings, but will try to describe our border crossings and negotiating Mexico. Has us moderately worried, but putting our faith in Roy to get us thru OK. Love to you all, Gale

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Our stuff

We finally made the decision to make the move to Belize. We'd hoped to make the move long before this, but, besides family, our house in Oregon hasn't sold in this crumby economy. Waiting isn't accomplishing much excepting getting us older, so plunge away! !

We updated our research on solar and our other off-grid needs. We contacted Backwoods Solar, asking their advise regarding our needs, covered our eyes and put in the order. We're trying to use minimal power, much of our appliances will be DC. We also ordered a composting toilet. Our goal is to try to stay outside the infrastructure, just to see how self-sufficient we can be.
We're advertising our house as a vacation rental. Hope this will work out as we're in the mtns, only 1/2 hour from the Mt. Bachelor ski area and Sunriver Resort. It's a log home, so are hoping it will appeal to others. Because we'll have folks in the house, we have to leave it fully furnished. We had to sift and sort, deciding what to take to Belize and how much we need to leave. We stacked the Belize stuff in the garage and have been testing the liveability of the rental stuff. It works great, but, we keep looking for stuff that's packed away. Oh well!

After attempting to contact shipping companies, we decided on Roy & Son Trucking of LA. Roy agreed that he would come up here, we'd rent a U-Haul and he'd take our stuff to LA, store it and then load it on a container for Belize. It will actually ship out of Houston. That saves us trying to get it down to him. He'll also get things thru customs for us and then deliver to our site in Bullet Tree. Wow! No one else comes close. He came up in May with his son and nephew and drove our load south.

The next thing was for me to quit my job and concentrate on our new adventure. After working for most of 50 years at odds and ends of jobs, it's hard to cut loose from the commitment and the paycheck. We have to be brave!

Our house begins

When we made the last trip, I stayed for a little over a week and we agreed that Art should stay longer. The building was done for now and we didn't want the property left vacant. Reluctantly I left him and headed back to Oregon.

The really difficult part of this whole project has been balancing this dream with our love and concern for our family. My mother was here in Oregon and in failing health with Alzheimers and we have a son and daughter and 5 grandchildren here, as well as my brother and his family. We stopped our building for a bit to concentrate on family. In January my beloved mother passed away. We were so blessed by her gentleness and sweet nature to the end. Art was devastated too by her death and flew home.

After we came to grips with this loss, we decided to go ahead with our plans. It's still difficult, but we feel that our children have their own lives to live and we should allow ourselves to finish our dream.

Because of the expense of these constant trips, we decided that I should make another trip down by myself to get things going again. Besides everything, we didn't want to lose Amelio to another project, if we could help it. This next project was to lay out the spot for our little house so that we could decide exactly where to put the cistern. I guess I failed to say that, since our property is high on a hill and far from the village, we'll collect water from the roofs and want an underground cistern. It's actually fairly small, being 12 x 12 x 8'. Since it will mostly be just the two of us, we're hoping this will suffice. If we run short of water, it's just a short run down the hill to the fast-moving Mopan River. We feel we can bring water up from there if necessary.

Amelio and I agreed on the locations and he staked it out. He's fantastic at trying to get everything exactly right. We admire him so much as he reads everything he can get his hands on about building. Our house will be 20 x 30', living room/kitchen, one bedroom and a bath. We decided to expand our original plan, which called for one veranda to 6' verandas on three sides and and 8' on the back. This one will better accomodate a table and chairs. Unlike the Mennonite house, ours will be on concrete piers with a concrete beam around the perimeter. This will allow for hurricane straps to secure the building.

At this point I had to head back home again, leaving Amelio with our dream. He was busy lining up a backhoe and supplies, hoping to get everything up the hill before the rains hit. BOY WE'RE GETTING TIRED OF GOING BACK AND FORTH!