It’s been almost two months since our last outing in Northern Michigan.    We dropped Stella off at Woodland Travel in Grand Rapids to have her winterized, washed and waxed and to have a new external cellular booster antenna installed.

For five weeks we were home which was the longest time without travel since we started traveling in June.   I didn’t know how much I missed being on Stella until we towed her closer to home just before Thanksgiving.    She’s all locked up near by and we’ve been to visit twice to pack for winter.  So we are in our “downtime”  but it really isn’t that “down”..

We still have three big “issues” we are trying to solve for our five months away.

  1.  Securing the litter box in the shower.  We do not plan on using our onboard shower so it seems a perfect place for the cat box.  Only one issue, our Classic has a molded “chair” which encroaches into the shower and no decent litter box will fit on the floor.  Ralph is engineering a solution on his “down time”.
  2. Securing our two hybrid Specialized bikes inside.  We will not travel with our bikes on the external rack when there is bad weather or salt on the road.  We need to design a solution to lock them into place inside.  If you have ever seen the movie the “long long trailer” with Lucy and Desi Arnez, you know how much movement occurs inside the trailer while under tow.  Lorna and Ralph are engineering this solution.
  3. Denali bed slide:  We had this installed a couple weeks ago.  It is supposed to make my life much easier when packing and unpacking.  You really do not want to see me climbing around the bed (look more like a circus performer).  It works great.. but… the 5” it takes means that the generator doesn’t fit — Too tall by 1”. Ralph is engineering a solution to lift the diamondback topper up a couple inches.

My main job is to pack and be ready.  To think about everything we may need, how to distribute weight and to ensure that we are not overpacking.  Storage space and weight are big considerations.  We are traveling during two seasons – Weather will be cold, cool, hot, cool, and finally possibly cold again in late April. So there are more considerations for clothes than the typical trip up North.  Stocking the tool box means doing research on common challenges and fixes – making sure we have minimally what we need either to fix or to get us to a dealer for repair.  I installed the tire pressure/temperature monitoring system, programmed it and still debugging why some sensors work while others do not.  I need to make sure we have the cats travel gear, meds and papers.  I learned how to download library books for free so we have some entertainment on our 4 hour drives.

I guess what I am trying to say is the downtime between fall travel and winter clearly requires a lot of thought and work.  Not that I’m complaining.. it keeps me busy.

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