Friday, February 28, 2014

I Finally Did It

Amid much denial, hand-wringing, and down right procrastination,  I signed up for the Affordable Health Care Plan.  I have been without medical insurance for years.  I have been receiving minimal medical care but generally when an emergency or illness required me to be seen. I however lacked the security of knowing there was insurance in case of a real prolonged need.

All the press, (negative and positive) and hysteria only served to heighten my anxiety.  I have continued to bury my head in the sand till this point and denial prevailed even in the face of time ticking away toward the coming deadline.

UNTIL, I saw a blog a few weeks ago regarding Health Care Insurance for the RV Lifestyle.  So I decided it was time to begin my 'education'.....

I checked out  a web site  from the blog and saw that the state where I live (Washington) is one of the states they had information about.  I found some information that all people who RV will want to consider.

I called and left a message and received a prompt call back within 24 hours. Kyle gave me some basic information and suggested that I read more in depth about insurance issues for those who RV on the RVer Health Insurance web site.   (Click on the banner on the right side to check out the web site for more information.)

Mind you, I'm certainly not an expert in Health Insurance, indeed I'm far, far from it but I now more a bit more than I did before.  So this won't be a post on the finer details about the New Health Insurance Law and how it affects RVers but I have learned a few new facts to pass on.

Your State of Residency will determine options available for your insurance.

Washington State where I currently am a resident has elected to develop their own state health care exchange meeting the new requirements of the ACA.  This will be different from other states and careful investigation regarding health care coverage will need to be added to the lists of things to consider before RVers choose the state of Domicile.   I feel fortunate that Washington State has taken an active lead in developing a comprehensive network of insurance options.  Only time will determine how effective those options are in meeting the needs of RVers.

 PORTABILITY is needed if you travel outside your area.

Portability refers to how usable your insurance will be both in your state of residence and during travels outside of the resident state.  Some companies clearly will not provide any coverage outside of your state or insurance network of providers.  Others may provide for emergency usage only.  Whether you travel part time or full time, consideration of how you can use your insurance outside of your state is important to understand before you purchase the policy. Like any other purchase, it will be up to you to determine what will best fit your needs.   It seems one needs to use your best detective skills to gather all the information needed in this new marketplace.

Affordability varies from levels and plans.  Some choices are available.

Washington State, where I currently am a resident has elected to develop their own state health care exchange meeting to meet the new requirements of the ACA.  There are several levels of insurance coverage you are able to purchase.  Some people will choose a higher deductible with a lower premium... others a lower deductible.      Some subsidies or tax breaks are available for households above the income thresholds to purchase insurance.  

The guidelines for the Medicaid (in Washington) expansion and rules regarding assets have changed thus allowing families or individuals with limited income,  access to insurance without spending all their assets before receiving coverage.  This was one of my big fears and hence some of my reluctance to look at the whole darn thing.  Again, different states are approaching this issue with variable results.

A few days ago I went to a class that reviewed information about the Affordable Healthcare Plan.  I was able to determine that many of the 'facts' I had heard were indeed not true.

At the class, I learned there are trained individuals to help sort out how to enroll in Health Insurance Plans.  I was able to get the name of a Health Care Navigator and make an appointment.  The next day I had an appointment and we filled out the paperwork which was surprisingly simple.  She pressed a send button and.......NOT SO FAST.....I almost had health insurance.

Instead of congratulations you now have insurance message.....We received an
 ERROR message.

The next day she called her magic number and returned a call to me telling me the good news. 
I at long last have insurance.

Step one - THE SIGN UP is completed.
Step Two - will involve checking with the five companies available in my area to determine which will best serve my needs in the coming year. (If I had previous experience with Doctors, I would select Health Care Companies that allowe using those Doctors)
Step Three - is the selection of Primary Care Professionals since at this point I don't have Doctors that I have been using.
There is much that is not known about how it will all shake out....I guess we will learn as this tale unfolds but in the mean time should I break a leg..... I know I will have medical coverage.  In the next two years before I qualify for Medicare (an everything will change again) I will have basic care including some basic dental and vision care.  The details of how medical care may change many times during coming years but I am grateful to finally have some coverage.

Everyone should have access to basic care.

And the Peace of Mind every RVer needs for sure!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Wow, What a Ride

The Blog RV World is abuzz with discussion regarding a would be future RVer as he contemplates whether full time RV travel is the way to go.  I certainly can't judge anyone elses journey but it reminded me of my own wild ride this past year.  It was a year ago that I put my home up for sale.  It was a big decision and one I considered carefully before committing to a complete change in the way I lived my life.  One answer will not fit everyone.   Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer, rather it is a process of discovering what works for you.

I knew that I was seeking a simpler, debt free life, with fewer possessions, and a way of  meandering travel without 'vacation frenzy'.

I lived in a house that due to circumstances I could no longer support.  A major life change was necessary whether I pursued the opportunity to travel or not.  So I set about the work necessary to downsize my life and sell my home and most of my possessions. 



 It was a lot of work!  

The more I did, the more resolved I became.

For all of my life, I was an explorer.  I was (and still am) the hiker who had to see around the next bend and beyond the next hill.   I am the hiker everyone begged to turn around and return to camp while I longed to go farther.

I had long ago decided I would never again sleep on the ground.  Thus, Lolita, my little vintage trailer came to live with me long before I considered living full time on the road.  I traveled first with kids, then solo with other women with vintage trailers.   When traveling with others I discovered that I needed time on my own.  I wasn't always a group kind of person and I needed more alone time to recharge.


To Travel:  Full-Time,  Part-Time, Some-Time, Any-Time?

What ultimately will work for you?

I have little advise for someone contemplating this process.  I can only tell what I considered when looking at this change in my life.

About this time I discovered  Rv travel blogs.  For me,  I found a huge variety of blogs and books to be a source of information on the immense variety on the ways people travel.  I have been drawn to blogs that share with great honesty their daily lives, AND struggles and triumphs. 
Some people have wondered if bloggers gloss over the trials and focus only on the joy of RV travel.  I have not found that to be true in the blogs I read.  

Two blogs I first followed met with personal struggles that they shared with their readers.  The first, a serious motor vehicle accident and the second a serious medical emergency.   Certainly, not light reading for the would be traveler.   Yet, I was encouraged by their problem solving and courage in facing all that life brought them on their personal journey.   I will always be grateful for the honesty I have found in the blogs I choose to read.  

I wondered if I could travel on my limited means and I found blogs who were dealing with just that and living life with gusto.  The beginning of my dream crystallized.

Bloggers taught me that women CAN and DO travel solo.   I ventured out more on my own.  AND I LIKED IT.   I learned that people live in vans,  travel trailers, 5th wheels, motor homes - tiny to HUGE. That it is common for people to try out different sizes of living spaces AND change their minds.  So I explored more and more options about what might work for me.   I am not in my forever home but it is enough for now.  I also now that I don't need the best of what exists to be happy.  In fact for me now the best things in life have very little to do with things.


Indecision  Can Become Paralyzing  - Fear Overwhelming


Some blogs are great travelogues and I have found many places that I want to visit.  I have found through reading and trial and error how I like to travel.  I am not a every day a different destination traveler.  I like to stay a while and find the back roads and out of the way spots.   I have learned from others about the equipment that makes life easier on the road and what I need and don't need to make the journey work for me.


I have developed a network of other bloggers that provide a support system and source of information.  Some have become friends.  I depend on the wisdom and knowledge of others who travel the same path but I always filter the information through my filters of life experiences.  


I read blogs that are just starting out, others living life boldly on their terms others living to the end of their days on the road.  Some travel exclusively, other work along the way while others work from the comfort of their home on wheels.  I have found reading blogs to be very informative, inspiring and entertaining .  I don't always agree with all that is said, but I have learned something every day when I am open to listening to different points of views. 


In the end, simply reading about others lives was not enough. 

I have also learned by trying out new ways to travel and live my life.


When I find myself looking to others for answers, I often become more confused and overwhelmed.  As I looked inside for my own understanding, I found what I needed to make the decisions in my own life. 


I have discovered that I am not immune from dealing with life problems just because my house is on wheels.  After four months on the road family needs brought me back to my home town.  New priorities have kept me from the full time travel I planned for.  My heart still longs to travel.  I will travel at every opportunity.  Indeed, I will create those opportunities. 


I think about the future and Plan B  (or what happens when travel isn't a major focus in my life).    I sometimes wish I had resources to maintain a homebase and travel but I I will continue to plan  for that next chapter as I also listen to others as they make life choices for themselves.  I don't know completely where my path will lead by I know this......


Thanks to my teachers and blogger friends for sharing  your lives with me.  Thanks to my faithful readers for joining me this last year....  This last year has been quite a ride, full of twists and turns I could never have imagined.   All of this makes me more determined to  live life with gusto.....

~ Happy Trails ~


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Does This Ever Happen To You?

I headed out for Coffee.  I had no other plans when I turned the ignition on the truck.  I wasn't more than a few blocks from the coffee shop when one thing led to another and I was headed out of town.  It was 7:00 AM so it was too early to call home and let them know what fool thing I was up too and of course I didn't even know what fool thing I was up to yet.  I just know the truck led out of town.

I headed out looking for a vista to enjoy the sunrise.... but that didn't happen, as the sunrise was covered in clouds and not photo worthy.  Another time.

But since I was out and about I thought I would see what there was to see this chilly morning.

Spook giving me stink eye!!

Spokane sits in a valley with steep hillsides to the north and south.  As I emerged on the north side of the valley I was rewarded with a sunny view of Mt Spokane, an extinct volcano about 30 miles north of Spokane.

Mount Spokane on the right and Mt Kit Carson on the left.

Auntie refer to Mount Spokane as the Ice Cream Cone.   I winded up the mountain to enjoy the blue sky and sunny views.

Bear Creek Lodge
The lodge has rooms to rent, a restaurant, a tubing hill amidst a winter wonderland.

It sounds like they have a decent menu and like it might make a fun place for a destination dinner.

I think I might like to try it out soon.  During the summer they have a small RV Park although it is very near the road and seems to all park in a row without trees or landscaping between sites.  Not my kind of camping.  I would have to check it out during the summer when you can get through the snow to investigate.

Part of the rope tow on tubing hill

Down the tubing hill

A creek along side the sledding hill area.

Lots of noise while kids are waiting for ski lessons.

Spokane in the distance

Spook is a cat that talks to me a lot.  I talk to her.  She answers.
What do you think Spook has to say here?

I go for coffee..... who knows what will happen.

Do you plan out your whole day or do you find yourself in unplanned places?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Apologies.....Blogger failed Me.....Different Drummers cont....

After we finished watching the movie we sniffed our way out of the theater and found our way into the lobby.  In the lobby I saw a table with people around it.  I walked over to the table and met the Author of the book....The hyper boy all grown up. It is clear how proud he is of the movie.

I have provided the trailer for the movie                                                                   

Here is a link to purchase the Kindle version of the book.                                    

Postscript:    YouTube now has the full movie available via streaming for a charge..... so if you can't wait for it to come to a theater near you, you don't have too!                        Enjoy!!!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Movie to Lift Your Heart

Sometimes you go to a movie and the drama draws you in and you come out having had your spirit lifted.
Today was such a day.

Different Drummers is a true story of two boys growing up in Spokane during the time I was growing up here.  It was recently made into a film and was released in local theaters.  It has been getting a lot of local press so today we set out to see the Movie.
"Different Drummers is a deeply inspirational and transcendent family film - based on a true story - about the unusual spiritual journey and unlikely friendship of two boys growing up in Spokane, Washington in the mid 1960s.Eleven-year-old David who uses a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy, is growing progressively weaker, while his friend, LYLE (10), struggles with and increasingly high, and seemingly uncontrollable energy level.  Miss O'Donnell, the school principal,  deals with his antics by requiring frequent runs around the playground and recesses and under the supervision of the School Janitor. (from Different Drummers Website, http:drummersmoviecom/)

To be continued on another post......


Monday, February 10, 2014

Dreaming of Utah

It was a great moment this morning when I realized that it is less than two months until we leave for our Utah adventure.   Time to get down to business and Get Planning!!


 I spent the morning looking at pictures of Utah while snow continues to fall.  Certainly a good choice on a snowy winter day!  I saw perfect photos of peoples perfect moments in time.  What never shows in the pictures, is what it takes in planning and preparation to get to that point.  How much planning did it take to find that perfect spot?  Or did they just happen upon it during their travels?  Were their days blissful or filled with anxiety and stress about where they would be camping next ?  Did they save for an entire year for those brief moments in time, forgoing living each individual day? 
Was it worth the time, energy and planning?

For me, I know that I feel totally alive when exploring, and learning all that a new area has to offer.  Sometimes it is the discovery of something I didn't even know existed the day before.  Sometimes just the quiet moments breathing in the still air and atmosphere of a new place.  Something that is never experienced when cruising down the interstate at 6o plus miles per hour.

In general, I have difficulty with the planning stage.  I am a pretty spontaneous person and detailed plans make me feel boxed in. Reservations cause me to constantly be looking to the next destination, watching the clock and missing the present moment.   I like general plans with destinations in mind with the freedom to adjust as I go.  Since many park systems rely completely on reservations it is  difficult for me to adjust to this type of travel.  I prefer the idea of boondocking but lack some of the confidence in finding boondocking spots.  Utah however has a whole landscape of boondocking possibilities (according to my scources and blogging buddies) .

Now to find those great boondocking spots!!
Benchmark Utah Road & Recreation Atlas, 4th editionI have a general travel US Atlas but I am ordering a Utah Benchmark Atlas this week to look at Utah in greater detail. 

Some key spots I am looking into are:

         Antelope Island near Salt Lake
         Cathedral Valley
         Capitol Reef National Park
         Arches National Park'
         Canyonlands National Park
         Goblin Valley

I intend to spend the majority of my time near Moab as there is so much to see and do in the area.  I prefer to set up a base camp and then venturing out without the trailer for drives and hikes.  No telling how far out  from these ideas I will roam.  I wish that I had time to go on to Zion and Bryce but those will probably wait for another trip..... I would rather see less and see it well than feel rushed.  I keep hearing that I could spend years in Utah alone and not see it all.  I have so much to see and experience.

I also have been doing some thinking about what I will be taking in the trailer.   When I set my wheels in motion last spring, I packed everything I might need for my future travel.  As most RVers have discovered.... there is great deal of STUFF that I never or rarely used(but I just might need it someday!)

So the bigger question is, do I want to haul it ALL around for this adventure?  
It is not the stuff that is so neatly packed away that is the issue, but rather the items that have to be moved to get to the stuff behind them each and every time something is needed.  As soon as this round of snow is gone I look forward to spending some time in the trailer doing some reorganizing.  It will be a good time to check over supplies and equipment to ensure everything will be ready to good to go.   I will look at everything with fresh eyes and evaluate if it is truly needed.  It might be kind of fun to travel light.  I'll give it some more thought.

I never in my life thought I would be shoveling snow.... but it has continued to fall in spite of my disdain.... I am so over the beauty of the snow.

This is just the beginning..... The pile is now to the top of the short fence (3 ft) near the street.  We got close to 4 inches today so we did the whole drive way. More is due tonight and then again tomorrow.  Woe is me!! 

I think I shall just go lie down and think of Spring and Utah.....

Saturday, February 1, 2014

SeaHawk Fever

I am not a football fanatic who can watch game after game no matter who is playing.  I have heard said, women often become attached to a team by a human interest angle centered around a player.  That is certainly how it worked for me, as I have  tended to not getting involved in watching a game, unless of course a team or players that captured my heart is playing.

The Seahawks have always been one of those teams. Steve Largent, a great receiver for the Seahawks, sparked my interest in the team as a great player and father (of a child with a disability), as he supported disability causes that were close to his heart.  From those early days on, Seattle has been my team.

The weeks leading up to this years Super Bowl have ignited a frenzy of fan support that can be seen all over Washington, and indeed the US.   
 The Empire State Building has turned Blue and Green.


Not only are Seahawk fans seen everywhere, they cause the earth to move.

Seismologists say Seahawks fans shook the ground under Seattle's CenturyLink Field during the January 14,2013 New Orleans Saints  playoff game causing another fan-generated earthquake.

Boeing is flying the Seahawks colors high over Washington.

The Boeing painted a 747 freighter with the team logo and the Number 12 on the tail to salute the fans.  The plane rolled out of a hangar Wednesday at Paine Field in Everett. It flew to Boeing Field in Seattle on Thursday for a brief stop and then took off to fly a 12 pattern over Eastern Washington.

 Seahawk fans in Spokane filled the local baseball stadium today to support their team.   A helicopter overhead snapped the picture.

Avista Stadium 12

My nephews wife and family are die hard fans and were present for the above 12th man photo

Photo: Spokane 12's, 12ing at 12:12.  #GoHawks!!!

 Cousins in our family got together for a little pre-game warm-up for the littlest fans. 

Seahwawks vs Broncos

Madsen 12th Man_013

More pics of this family event are at this link by the photographer in the family Crystal.

One thing can be said for sure, SeaHawk Fever is alive and well.... everywhere.
I have a bad case of Seahawk Fever !!

Come Sunday,  we'll be watching..... Let the Earth Move!!

~ Go Hawks !! ~