August 22, 2016

We did it!!!

Yes, that's right folks. We bought an RV. We picked it up yesterday. All of us flew to Grand Rapids, Michigan, took a taxi to the RV dealership and saw our new home for the first time. We have yet to name her (as you know that is definitely going to happen) but she's a big beauty.

We landed on a Forest River Georgetown 364TS. It was the only clear choice for us. It has 2 bathrooms, a king bed, bunk beds and a overhead bunk above the driver/passenger seat. Our big requirements were 2 toilets and the bunks for the kids. We realize the 2 toilets is extravagant but we've lived with only 2 toilets in the house before and it was NOT pretty so less than that would be downright catastrophic. We also realized that we'd be potty training Cayenne during this adventure, too. As for the bunks, it was simple. We didn't want the kids to have to fold up their beds every day. We wanted them to feel like they had their own space (even if it is tiny).

We spent a few hours signing papers and scouring the RV from head to toe with the technician so he could show us everything. The outside was Edson's domain. I attempted to hold a sleeping Cayenne and pay attention but all the talk about the gray water, black water, this pump and that was too much for me. The inside was also Edson's domain when it came to all the tech-y stuff. I was mostly interested in asking about drilling holes in the walls to hang decorative stuff. Thank goodness for Edson. He has single-handedly figured out how to run this entire RV on his own. Of course, with some help from youtube.

We stopped off at Wal-Mart to load up on all the essentials and then headed to the campground that the RV place paid for and settled in for the night. We laughed a lot on the way to our site. Never would I ever have thought we'd be in this thing and in this predicament almost 15 years ago when Edson and I met. It is hilarious thinking about it honestly.

Edson driving this humongasaurus

Hidden Ridge RV Resort in Grand Rapids (our first overnight stay)
Edson and I slept better than we have in a while. The ups and downs of trying to make this all work is daunting so finally having one piece of the puzzle was a really nice feeling. We left this morning after going through a checklist: put in slides, put up leveling thingys, dump gray water, fill fresh water, put everything that can fly across the room in something else that won't, etc. One thing we forgot? To hook the refrigerator door closed. Oops! Stuff went flying but nothing broke and hopefully we learned our lesson.

We are driving back to Florida to fill this bad boy up with our stuff. We are giving ourselves a couple weeks to do so and then we are Peacin' Out :). Our first stop is a Harvest Hosts location in Martinsville, Indiana as we take baby steps to get back. Super excited about this spot as it's the best of both worlds for Edson and I: a winery and a brewery. CHA-CHING! It's called Cedar Creek Winery & Brew Co. Check it out HERE.

Our itinerary for this week:
  • Start: Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Martinsville, Indiana by way of Indianapolis
  • Tazewell/Townsend, Tennessee by way of Louisville, KY
  • Sparks, GA (another Harvest Hosts spot)
  • End: Then we end up in Jupiter, FL to park for a couple weeks
I will inevitably have a ton to write about so stay tuned for lots of fun pics and stories. I'm sure there will be A LOT. 

August 12, 2016

Our Deadline and OUR DECISION

We gave ourselves a deadline: June 30, 2016. We wanted to know by that date what we were going to do with our lives. Yeah, well, that deadline came and went. The trip to my Dad's, Cape Coral, Fourth of July, our 10 year anniversary, a trip to Siesta Key and finally Reno's 9th Birthday all passed by in a blink of an eye. Summer is wrapping up and we've been going back and forth with our decision quite a bit. Understandably.

In the end we did put an offer in on a house in Port St. Lucie. It is a really nice house.  We went back and forth a few times and the seller did come down $22K in price which is huge. We ended up walking away as it just didn't seem right. Don't think we didn't doubt that decision quite a few hundred times. Ultimately, we really thought about it and asked ourselves: 'Why would we stay here when we risked everything to uproot our family for a new way of life?' We would be living the same lifestyle: the routine and the whole rigamaroll. The housing market in South Florida has also exploded in the last 18 months. We find houses that sold in 2014 for $185K that are now listed for $285K. That is disgusting! The bubble is going to burst people-- it IS going to burst.

Our final decision:DRUM ROLLLLL PLEASE... We are going to....

Go RVing
Image courtesy of

Holy smokes (or Holy MOKES as Cayenne would say)! It's a crazy choice but it's the right one for us right now. There will never be another good time like our current situtation. Our stuff is in storage, our kids aren't connected to this place or their school and BA-BAM! We are headed out on the road and will have a TON of stuff for the blog to share with all of you. We are thinking this will be a 1-2 year extravaganza in order to see everything we want to see. My hope is that we will find a place we fall in love with along the way. If not, it isn't the end of the world. We have a house in VA that will be available in May 2018 and we know we have a place to come back to in FL.

We are going to share a ton more as the weeks get closer but we are excited, extremely nervous about the unknown and overwhelmed by everything that still has to be done. Exhibit A:

1. Selling cars/trading/posting or blah blah
2. Finding our RV- the one we really like is the Forest River Georgetown 364TS- E is working with 2 different dealers to get the best deal
3. Finalizing homeschool options/plans and sending notice of intent to superintendent, ensuring we have access to an annual evaluation
4. Learning how to operate poop pump, water tanks, etc. - E's got this!
5. Dealing with wifi, satellite stuff to ensure we have what we need for work, communication
6. Going through all of the stuff we have at both parents houses and determining what we need to bring and figuring out what we do with all of the other stuff. In other words, downsizing AGAIN.
7. Working on registering vehicle, insuring, etc.
8. Figuring out our route. We are looking at staying at national parks, if possible and RV parks and then supplementing with a night at places we find through Harvest Hosts. Check that out-- it's amazing! Our plan is to be in warm climate during winter months so we don't have to pack coats and everything that comes with winter. We will share with you the first portion of our route soon as we've finally gotten somewhere with it.

Most people do all this stuff with time on their side. That is not the case with the Cortes Clan. We've got one month to get 'er done. Stay tuned as our adventure starts to unfold...