Last month (June) we finally got someone in here to grade it back down, but that was even difficult, and it still wasn't "ideal". Still, it cost us another $1000, bringing the total for all of this project to roughly $9000...and we may not be done yet!
We really need to have some fill dirt brought in and then have that leveled out, but I am going to try to work with what we have...if it ever stops raining enough to get it done! Red clay is no fun to work in when it's wet!
To make a long story short, the septic tank ended up being a size bigger than we needed, but the installer already had the hole dug and lined with gravel. The new tank was about a foot taller than what should have gone in, but he said it would be fine, even though I knew it wouldn't be. As a result, everything else, including the drainage lines are also higher then they should be. Even though we should have had plenty of dirt to spare, it got spread too far out, and then some of it got packed down so tight, that the tractor blade just bounced over it after it dried out. Bringing in a heavier tractor won't help, because he may crunch the lines that in some places are at the top of the ground already. So the only safe way to do it is to either spend another $1000+ for more fill dirt and subsequent leveling again, or just try to rake it a little at a time by hand to redistribute the dirt that we have.
I am choosing the latter, because if we spend any more money on this place, it will only delay us even further in getting out of here. As it is, this last expenditure (along with a couple other minor automotive things, like a new fuel pump on the conversion van) has now backed up our departure to (at least) August 1st of 2015. I have just gone through the procedure to reset the countdown timer in the side margin on all of our travel sites, so they are now correct to the best of my knowledge.
This is going to put us in a bind. We have to have the cargo trailer and van ready to travel, but I already know that some things aren't going to be done when we leave here, simply because of time and money. No big deal. I will have tools with me to finish what we need to after we're on the road.
The other issue is weather. When we leave here, we already know that we are heading to Indiana, to spend some much overdue time with Sharon's sister. How much time remains to be seen yet, as it depends on how soon we get out of here. From there, we also have to get to South Dakota before it starts getting cold up there, so that we can establish a new residency in that state. (We don't plan to live there...just have our address there through a mail forwarding company.) We can do everything else by phone or by mail, but when it comes to driver's licenses, we HAVE to be there in person. Hopefully, that won't take more than an overnight stop before we hit the road again, headed for Colorado.
In late May, we learned that our home membership resort in Indiana was being shut down. As a result, our membership has now been moved to Blue Mesa Ranch in Gunnison, Colorado (http://www.bluemesarvcamping.com/), right at the east end of Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
We hope to be able to have some time to spend there, but again, we want to get out of there and headed toward Southern Arizona before it gets cold in Colorado. In many parts of the country, including Indiana, it can remain decent until about mid-October, but in the higher latitudes and elevations, it's going to get cold much quicker. So this first time out is going to be a race against the weather, more than anything else.
Our original planned departure of June 1st would have given us more time in the warm weather, and a more relaxed schedule, even up north, but we can't do anything about that now. It will be what it will be.
As far as the cargo trailer, I now have the insulation done on the curved top edges of the side walls. I have to do some wiring for the Fantastic fans yet, and then pick up and install the ceiling panels. Next Monday (7/21) I will order the two new Fantastic fans and the Maxx-Aire vent covers, and then get those installed. That will make it more comfortable in there, and also allow me to work on rainy days, if I need to. Right now, the only way I can stand it in there is to have both the ramp door and the side door open to get a breeze through the trailer.
As soon as I get that done, I will need to do the new luan underlayment and commercial tile on the floor, as everything else has to go on top of that. Then I will get the new air conditioner ordered that will go under the front couch. I need to get it first, to be able to fit everything on the couch framework, including the baffles that will divide the incoming and outgoing air at the back of the air conditioner, and know where to cut the holes in the floor. Once that is boxed in I will be able to cool it down in the trailer and get rid of the humidity so I can stand to work in there for the rest of the summer. After the air conditioning is functional, will come all the rest of the interior framing and cabinets.
I still have a few things to get done on the conversion van, too, including getting the new 2-inch receiver hitch installed, and figuring out what to do about privacy curtains. As with the trailer, some things may have to wait until we can get on the road.
That August 1st date is critical because we have it projected out that the last payment on our second time-share and also one last credit card will occur almost simultaneously around that time (hopefully a little before). Once that is done, Sharon can get out of Walmart, and then we can start stockpiling excess monies and hit the road. It would be nice if the house sells, too, by that time, but it won't stop us from leaving. When it finally sells, it will add that much more to our monthly excess, and then we can spend what we need to to for whatever didn't get done prior to our departure. I already know that some of that will include additional battery power and solar panels, but we can get by with one battery to start out, as long as we can plug in at night.
I'm sure there will be many little things that we will think of after we get to living in the trailer for awhile. Improvements never seem to stop, especially for that first year out.
In order to get Sharon out of Walmart ASAP (next July or August at this point) we HAVE to keep our noses to the grindstone and NOT spend anything that we don't absolutely have to have, whether that be on this house, yard work, or for the vehicles. Once we get those last two bills paid off, and get her out of Walmart, then we can play catch up on everything else as we need to.
It's going to be a long year!
As always, comments are welcome. Don't be shy!