-8 degrees is nothing when you have a Redwood

Jeep and Redwood

Winter and a 5th wheel are not always used in the same sentence and especially winter in the negative range.   Yet, with our Redwood it has been nothing but complete comfort.   Winter in the Four Corners area of Colorado can be mild or can be brutal and this year our first year in our Redwood it has been brutal.  We have seen quite a significant amount of snow and just this past week we have been in negative digits.

Winter Wonderland
Just a little snow

We chose the Redwood because it was rated as four season and I am pretty certain the four season they were talking about was not in the negatives.  I can only tell you that that it lives up to its claim in every aspect.

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With a Redwood and a Jeep we got this covered

We made the required adjustments and prepped it for winter.  We heat traced the water and wrapped it in insulation.  I should say the husband did this really as the only thing I did was help hold the insulation so he could place it on the water.   This definitely helped and thus far we have had no issues.  We have a small heater in the underbelly which is also insulated and heated but because of the extremes we wanted to be sure we were thoroughly prepared.

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Just a little snow

During winter especially a cold winter in Colorado our stick built home would usually have a pipe bust.  At least one either outside or inside.  The Redwood so far has not had an issue

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Lot’s of vacancies here

It is absolutely amazing and has been completely comfortable.   It is actually warmer in winter than our stick built 2500 sq foot home.    We have one fireplace in the living area and one in the bedroom and both run off electricity.   These have kept the Redwood completely warm.   Only when it has been in the single digits has the propane heater even come on.  We set it at 65 and this has been more than warm enough.

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Not many have this idea for their own Redwood life.

I really have to say testing it out has been pleasant and we have yet to encounter any significant issues.   The Redwood maintains its heat well and the two fireplaces hold up to the most frigid temperatures.   It does have a few little drafts mostly in the lower areas of the floors but nothing that is a game changer.  It would be interesting to figure out where the drafts are actually coming from.Overall we are happy with its performance in winter with really nothing to complain about.  It will now be interesting at the opposite of the spectrum and see how it holds up in the summer months maybe in some place like Lake Havasu.   I am pretty confident that if it does this well in winter we won’t be disappointed in summer.  Only time will tell.A

For the Luxury Minimalist this life offers complete mobility in or out of the US.  I am completely satisfied with selling our large home and all the ENTRAPMENT’S that come along with it. Now we enjoy our luxury studio and we hit the road whenever we desire.   As for regrets I have none.  Affordable luxury lifestyle without breaking the bank offers me opportunity travel, travel, travel.   As always if you are in need of any questions answered send me an email.   Would love to book your next travel adventure around the world or around the corner.

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You have to be prepared!

Redwoods are for Boomers or anyone else really including a luxury minimalist

Dinette-Recliners             How do you choose a moving earthquake on wheels.   Well you look.  Then you look again.  Then you narrow it down and look again.  They you choose one you like.  Then you change your mind.  Then you look again.  Then you go back and start all over.   Then finally you decide on the features you need and the floor plan you like and if you are lucky you just might get it or you can order it.

Well, that is somewhat how are choice began.   We knew we needed something that would stand up to the cold of Colorado, after all  I did not want to freeze.  Again, I am a minimalist but a luxury minimalist.  I knew I wanted to live with less, so what ever fit’s in the 5th wheel that is less.  I knew I would maintain a small little storage area for family pics and such.  I also new that I am 50 plus make decent money and don’t want to suffer too much.  I know all of you travel free, with less stuff, people are cringing.  I admit it I did not want to go to the extreme.  I am a realist who likes heat, and comfort.  I especially like comfort, and wine I like wine, and nice hotel rooms I like nice hotel rooms.

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Well when the decision was coming into fruition we had really narrowed it down to 2 styles.  One was the Landmark who I think is absolutely beautiful and then our choice the Redwood.  We were all set to pull the plug on a brand spanking new baby when we hit a little snag at Camping World in Arizona.  Nothing on the Redwood itself as we love it.

It was our experience at Camping World.  We went through everything paper work and everything at CW, and we were not ready to pick it up but wanted everything set for when we came back in a few weeks.  So we waited, then waited, then waited and days had passed and we were already home and still knew nothing.  Called finance manger who was the worst at calling back, called the sales manager again the worse.  Finally, when we did get them we heard several different stories from each.  You would think if someone is dropping that much money in today’s economy they might want to give them a little better service.  I mean I don’t expect any one to drop down and kiss my feet but an email or phone call letting us know how everything is progressing.  NOPE, NADA, NILTCH every single time it was me calling.

I figured out that if this is the way sales worked I surely did not want to have to deal with service (which most know with a new rv is inevitable).  My husband and I pulled the plug and stopped the transaction (not sure it had even started really).   The final straw was after we decided never again the assistant GM called and tried to smooth things over. He tried to be nice and understanding yet when we stated we weren’t interested and refund our deposit his tune changed.  Talk about never visiting a company again.  With employees like that it makes you wonder why they have any business at all.  We took our business elsewhere.  To La Mesa RV really nice folks who gave us impeccable service across the board.

So we ended up at LA Mesa RV in Arizona and we are truly happy with our choice.  The Redwood is definitely a nice rig (Rver slang).  It is completely a four season choice in the world of 5th wheels.  A heated undercarriage is completely important when the temperatures in your area can be below zero at times.  Two fireplaces and a 40,000 BTU furnace are also important to us.

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Yet, what caught us is the elegance and beauty of the Redwood.  It’s products are made with high quality materials and construction.  It is labeled as a luxury residential 5th wheel and I believe it lives up to it’s advertising.  You know that word luxury would appeal to the luxury minimalist in me.   What appealed to me also is that I can purchase a residence that I can take anywhere and my front door can be anything from a barren but beautiful warm desert to a alpine setting in the mountains and it is luxurious.   The beauty is not only in the area I am visiting but the 5th wheel itself.

Redwood-Pantry

I simply love the kitchen with it’s beautiful and functional design.  The pantry is lovely and has plenty of storage.  The kitchen itself is filled with extra cabinet storage which is really important when you are full timing.  My husband refers to it as a two butt kitchen in that both of our derrières fit nicely in the space.  We have a gas stove and an oven and it has worked for us well.   We don’t have a full size refrigerator but it is pretty decent and seems to work for us with no issues.

Redwood-bedroom

Our bedroom is completely comfortable and has more than enough storage and space for us.  There are little drawers and spaces everywhere for you to place items.  Being we are full timing in it closet storage was important.   We still work and have work attire and play attire and we live in an area with four seasons.  We don’t have any issues what so ever.  I do however remove summer cloths in winter and winter cloths in summer.  This helps to have a more organized area and increases the ease of use in the closet area.  I just take what I am not using and place it in plastic bins in our under carriage area.  It is then neat and organized.

So we have scaled everything down to fit into less than 300 sq feet.  You really have to like each other in that amount of space and lucky for us we do.  The Redwood does not feel cramped or even small and we enjoy everything about it.  Our original idea and we had read all of the RV blogs was to go big.  Big enough to give you space you need but still able to fit into various places you might want to see like national parks and such.  At our first initial stop this is just what we intended and we were looking at a 41 footer.   After our initial issue with the above mentioned worst customer service ever place we located our new home at LA Mesa RV.   This is when we did our final search on the internet and our beauty came up she was basically 36′ inside and 38′ in exterior length.  I have to say we love it!   It is not too small at all and Redwood has taken care of everything as far as storage and placement of furniture to maximize every space.  We have storage we have yet to even use.  I have to say I was quite surprised at the efficiency of everything in the Redwood.  Very well planned out and a beautiful place to call home.  Especially for the Luxury Minimalist.  So if you happen to be in the market for a 300′ sq ft living space I would not hesitate to recommend a Redwood Fifth Wheel not only for comfort but luxury too.

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Oh and I get nothing from this endorsement but if you want to send me a check I would not turn it away.  (smiling deviously)

The New RV Luxury Minimalist

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Ok so we have started this journey to simplify our lives.  I have to say we really have, we sold our house, we got rid of a lot of stuff, and we are down to what will fit in the 5th wheel.  Yet, I am sorry I admit it “I am Teresa, and I am a luxury minimalist.   I think I have coined the phrase myself.  So just what is that you ask?

Well, it’s a simplified version of the dream.  What does that mean it means I still enjoy a lot of little things I enjoyed before just on a different scale.  I have ditched pretty much everything that went with a 2500 sq ft home.  EXCEPT; my coffee, my wine, and my food not necessarily in that order.

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I mean really, I am in my 50’s and I like my little comforts.  I don’t want to live in a van or pop up.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  I mean if I was in my 20’s, 30’s, maybe early 40’s I might even enjoy it.  I even might enjoy a little back pack trip now and then.  A couple of days trekking around the Colorado mountains or for that matter Europe with a back pack and in a hotel.  I like my hotels and I love Marriott for my hotel choice.  Although I might be open to trying some others.  I will have to see after I finish the Year with Marriott Gold experience I am on.  I don’t want to stay in a hostel and being I still work full time I am ok with forking out the money for a little extra comfort.  Or better yet POINTS!  My favorite way of getting great rooms on vacation with little or no outlay of cash.

JW Houston

So for the luxury minimalist I enjoy cooking and creating wonderful meals, I enjoy wine, and wineries, and then more wine.  I enjoy a nice bed, a nice hotel, and I enjoy a city visit as much as a country visit.  I am not the new extreme version of the Minimalist, no car, no television, and other things like that.  I am a minimalist in the aspect of things and where we live.  I really can’t purchase anything because we can’t fit too much in our 5th wheel.

Yes, I have moved into a 5th wheel and some may gasp at the thought.  Yet, the Redwood is not your classic small tin can.  I have wonderful rustic cherry wood cabinets, actually nicer than I had in my stick built home.  I have a wonderful air-conditioner which I had not owned in 12 years.  I have solid surface corian countertops, I have a lovely king size bed all in the space of 325 sq feet or so.  This is what I mean I am a luxury minimalist I have a small space but it is equipped with very nice amenities and comforts.

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My husband and I have managed to scale down tremendously but I still enjoy many things I did before and we have reduced our cost exponentially.  It takes a nice outlay of cash to keep up 3 acres, with a 2500 sq ft house and greenhouse.  Not to mention the time it needs for maintenance and upkeep.  So now my husband has way more time on his hands too.

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So in a sense we have upgraded and reduced our cost.  It’s a wonderful win win idea.   There are many who prefer to maybe buy a vacation home on the beach or in the mountains.   We decided why not buy our home and move it to where we choose?  Why not be able to have the beach one year, the mountains one year, and or the desert, and or city at another time?  Perfect for the wanna be vagabonds!

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Style, one thing I was worried about having to pair down my selection of wardrobe.  I was introduced to the concept of capsule wardrobes and project 333.  These are ideas that you can use a series of items in your wardrobe to make lots of different options.  I loved it and I am working on this right now.  I do not want to live in shorts and a tee shirt as I am the luxury minimalist.  I like to look nice and I like nice outfits.

This lifestyle goes hand in hand with my affordable travel.  In the aspect that scaling down allows us to be free and go where we want when we want.  It allows us the freedom to pack up and just move in a matter of hours.  We know longer have things tying us down are a place we are tied too.  We can stay at our current jobs or not.  Our choice.  That alone is a beautiful thing.

The Man Way the Woman Way:Dinner

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I am a foodie, a glorified living breathing, focused driven, food maven.  I love everything about food and beverage.  It’s a passion in line with travel for me.  So I try and combine the two whenever possible.  That way I am living in my ultimate happy dream state when they coincide.

My husband on the other hand is NOT a foodie and he likes to travel but does not have the desire for it that I do.  Oh he goes, and he eats, and he enjoys, but neither are his passion.

Sometimes I sit back and contemplate, just how my happy dream state might not actually coincide with my husbands happy dream state.  In that mine is this happy state of bliss and his closer to maybe a nightmare at times courtesy of yours truly.

It’s ok we both grasp this about each other and are perfectly comfortable in our discomfort.  It’s not like we are newlyweds in a constant state of wedded bliss. We get it.

So when it comes to dinner my idea is this wonderful experience complete with wine of course.  It looks somewhat like this.

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My husbands his is more like this.

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You can see where the two might collide.  His idea is more in line with what I like to refer to it as hospital food.  Get the can open it and cook it until the item is close to mush.  Put salt and pepper on it and it is good to go.  Pile a bunch on the plate and there it is dinner.  Oh I forgot throw a piece of meat next too it and some canned biscuits.  It’s DINNER. The man way.

His idea of dinner at home consist of a salad, a piece of meat, canned vegetables, and those beautiful canned biscuits.  This is perfectly acceptable according to him.  Now I am not talking the fluffy nice canned biscuits but the 20 cent canned biscuits that look like a hockey puck.  Oh wait my gosh there .89cents.

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Any way this is his idea of a fine dinner.  Cut of meat are you kidding!  No concept here.  It’s all the same to him.

Now as you can imagine this idea does not fit into my dream.  As a matter of fact this is close to my own nightmare.  When traveling this is the last thing I want to see.  Yet, he is like a heat seeking missile focused on these type of places.  Buffet or the one with the store inside;his favorite.  A must stop anytime we are traveling in the US.  Now I like the store inside but I can open a can as well as anyone.  I just prefer not too.

This is where his man way and my woman way conflict.

You see my idea is simply on a completely different scale.  I like to experience food and embrace every little nuance that surrounds it.   I want to experience aroma, texture, color, and presentation.   It’s my woman way.  So for dinner I often love to be the consummate cook and often I wait until my husband the man is gone to create some of my finest meals.

farmers Market

I love to shop at the local farmers market, or an organic market.  I prefer nice cuts of meats grass-fed preferred.  I like the occasional wild game and love to add wine to anything I am cooking.  No can’s opened on my watch.  I like sweetly inspired ingredients of the nicest quality, and a nice bottle of wine to finish off the meal.

It’s relaxing, it’s peaceful, and it completes my idea of dinner.

This week my husband has been traveling for work and not at home at our little 5th wheel little love nest.  He is in Durango, Colorado responding to the toxic river spill. Sad really but that’s another story for another day.

toxic spill

I took this opportunity to indulge in not only winery visits but to create some new dinner experiences.  These are the moments I can be the most creative.  Pan Seared Buffalo with a Cabernet Shallot Reduction Sauce and Sweet Potato Apricot Fritters with Peach Salsa and drizzled with a Chipotle lime sauce and served with Alcantara Vineyards 2013 Petite Sirah.  Exquisite, divine and completely wonderful.

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This is my idea of dinner!  Compliments of Travel with T the luxury minimalist and the “Woman’s Way”.  No canned biscuits in sight, no vegetables that come out of a can, and nothing piled high on top of a plate.  Bon Appetite!

So if you happen to see us at that place with the store in it known for what it calls home-style country flavor, know that it is the man way that won out.   I gave in because marriage is compromise, love, and understanding  or maybe it was because of the shopping.

The Man way the Woman Way

Ok so we made it!   We did not break anything on the way, we didn’t kill each other, and we actually still like each other.

The Drive

Our plans did not quiet work though.  We had planned to drive through the day and get to the park early on or before dusk at least.  This was our first time driving, hauling, and parking the 5th wheel.  We had everything worked out.  We had read, practiced, and planned.  Sometimes plans don’t execute as well in real life as your mind intends them too.

We arrived at the park fairly late and the spot they gave us was not capable of handling our 5th wheel.   It really had to do with the position of our slides and the trees.   So after about a 1 hour of trying to get into the spot. Then countless input from the RV pro’s, and various checks on the computers from the RV pro’s wives, the decision was they gave us another space.

More than likely they felt sorry for the 2 new full time rv living people.  Who could not quite fit their shiny and brand new 38ft home away from home in the space provided.  Now, getting a 38 foot rig into anywhere is not easy especially on your first day.   So to the credit of the two new RV owners, the space was a little off and the trees were right in the way of the slides.

Yet, what happened after that was classic man and woman difference in mentality or dare I say Jupiter and Saturn.  Hopefully most of you will get that reference.

It began to unfold as we broke every rule of the 5th Wheel pulling gentleman at www.loveyourrv.com who we faithfully read before we began. We practiced ourselves in the RV sale parking lot and we were ready to go.  We thought we were ready.

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EXCEPT, when it actually got down to it all the rules changed.  First thing out of the gate the RV pros were on us like, well you know.   Most likely it was the smell of blood in the water.  They were all very nice and wanted to help but we had just read the nice bloggers instructions stating to do it yourself.    We were prepared to say no and we were prepared to do just as the nice man on the love your rv blog stated.

Something else happened though and it was that man thing.   Those gentleman just pushed me aside and they started taking over.

I realized then at that moment that my husband’s man thinking was actually flawed. You see we had this perfect plan.  He stated that I could not drive because it was a man thing. He stated I just needed to let him drive.  That this man thing was just that a man thing.   I sat there I explained that if I had to at one point break his legs I was going to drive the 5th wheel.   Because that was a woman thing.

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So when we arrived at the rv park all the men’s man thing took over. They decided they knew best and I just needed to be the woman and stand off to the side and let the men do the man thing. I even think while all this was transpiring one of the men even shooshed his wife.  Wait it might have been my husband!

They were all busy doing the man thing and just about 2 hours later they finished with the man thing and the 5th wheel was where it should be.  It was completely dark, everyone was slightly frustrated, and Paul was completely exhausted.

I think it might have taken me less time doing it the woman way without all the man things going on.

Whew glad that is over!

The Journey is part of the destination

If there comes a time that any one tells you it’s a man thing go ahead tell them just what you think.  That is if you can get a word in edgewise.  Especially, with the all different directions going on at the same time as they all proceed to do the man thing.

I am sure glad I don’t live in that man thing world it’s much more pleasant in my woman thing brain.

Living the dream, just what is that anyway?

Redwood

We did it our way!

So we finally pulled the plug! This boomer has flown the coop, I gave up the life that every boomer my age strives for the house and all that goes with it.   The American Dream or NOT.   If you had asked me 2 years ago if I thought I would have sold most of my possessions I would have said MAYBE. I know you were thinking she would have said no, but I can’t really say that.   I have never been one to fit into any mold, at least for any solid time frame.  I think that is a little of the 60’s style boomer mentality that wore off on me.

It’s normal for the X, Y, and other geners to fly away and sell everything they own, but not really so for my generation. We were born to work, raised kids, and retire to a nice little place in the country; Yuppieville. Maybe buy the 5th wheel and become weekend warrior types. That is the last of the American Boomer’s dream right?  What I mean is I am on that cusp.  The last of the boomers.  I came in at the tail end.  I missed the 60’s as I was born them.

So, I figured I would change it up a little and I have been working on the idea of less is more. Less in the aspect of possessions means a little more freedom.  Freedom was definitely calling me.  Not in the way of some younger people, that translates into a way of no responsibilities, and travel light ect.  I mean I still have a lot of the boomer in me, I still have a dividend portfolio, and I still like the feeling of security.  Ok, ok; even it it’s a little false.   I still like comfort.  Freedom in the aspect of being able to do more and not be tied down to a house, bills, things, and such.  That is why I say “we did it our way”.

Dinette-Recliners

For over a year now we have been downsizing and getting rid of a lot of crap. I mean a lot!   I never realize how much stuff I had accumulated. That was until I started departing with some of it.   With Paul’s retirement from the Marine Corps we chose Southwestern Colorado to call home.  It just seemed every year during this time we had more stuff. We have been here 12 years this July which translates into a lot of crap.

Maybe it was my husband’s years in the Corp and my wanderlust, but after the loss of our youngest daughter, priorities changed and we desired a change.   I felt I needed to be a little freer, a little lighter, the things that were important before maybe weren’t so important anymore.

It was like I had been in a cocoon but now I needed to emerge into something else, I had been transformed, but not really by choice.   So what did that mean? For me it meant, I wanted to spend time not with things but with people. I wanted to see more, do more, experience. I wanted to journey and see everything that my daughter was not able too. I wanted to LIVE! I wanted to discover places and create memories which would last a lifetime.

It’s not that I had never experienced that travel bug, I have had it almost all my life. Now it just seemed to be entering into warp speed. So at the same time we started selling our possessions we started to travel a little more. This was when we decided to place the house up for sale too. After mulling over our options everything from retiring overseas to placing ourselves in our little rental in North Carolina we through caution to the wind and went out and bought a 5th wheel. We decided we were going to live full time in the RV and go from there.

Redwood-Desk  My work area.

That is how this crazy little journey started and we have tried to turn our tragedy into a story of survival and growth. A story of how one family found a way to move past the all-encompassing grief, and pain and become something their child could not.  That is the place I found myself when we decided to purchase the 5th wheel and then become full time residents in it.

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I laugh and tell my husband we have become minimalist except we are luxury minimalist. I mean after all I would not want to give up my wine. I still am civilized after all! So I hope you enjoy our journey as we discover different destinations in this little thing we call life.