Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Next Phase

As we consider the next year or two of our life we agree that mobility needs to be part of it. Probably late in February, next year transportation and housing will be at the top of the list. Our family is spread out now and the number one priority will be to visit with each family and get acquainted with the new members and re-acquainted with everyone else. Besides this, we want to see more of the country, especially areas that are connected to our family or historical background. It appears that the solution to this may be a properly configured, four season travel trailer pulled by an adequate tow vehicle. Life usually unfolds with accompanying challenges or surprises so now we are only on the initial stage of planning and preparation.

A Possible Comfortable Traveling Home

After reading about one successful setup on the internet, we zeroed in on a Northwood Arctic Fox Trailer. They are made for the four seasons and the floorplan below seems to meet our requirements very well. Here is the floorplan of the 25S model which would require a vehicle capable of 8,000 pounds:

The option with the swivel chairs would be our choice. Because units such as this are often little used, usually just a few times a year, it may be possible to find one a few years old for a reasonable outlay. Solar panels can be added to keep the house batteries charged for most of the year.

A Possible Tow Vehicle

Our kids will probably have some memories of the used 15 passenger Chevy Van that we bought in Show Low one day. It was very solid and served well except for the headliner which did not do well with our kids. Appropriately configured either a Ford or Chevrolet will tow up to 10,000 pounds and come with either a gas or diesel engine. We think the diesel would be the most economical, but the cost of fuel is less of a concern when we consider staying perhaps several weeks in some places before visiting another area. Of course beyond one row of seats behind the front, the extra two rows would not be necessary. With the large space we could carry extra items to make our "Wayfaring" an adventure as well. It may be difficult to find a used one, say five or six years old with low mileage but life is full of challenges.

Other Considerations for a Wayfaring Couple

Since early marriage, we have enjoyed a cab-over camper on a Ford truck, a class C motorhome and for a short time a Class A motorhome. With the proper amenities, this can be a wonderful time of our life. Perhaps in a later post we will cover some of the reasons we want to do this. We will also discuss how this can work well for us as we seek a "Home Base" for the future. But for now, we have not seen a better plan for the short run.

What are your thoughts about this plan? Do you think we are a little crazy?

Friday, October 14, 2011

The View from Ouro Branco

Little did I know after posting about the computer age in August that Steve Jobs would pass on a few weeks later. As a family, our lives have been wonderfully enhanced from the inventions that came from his drive and vision. Beside the Apple II mentioned in that post and the two computers we now use here in Brasil, our son Rob gave me one of the early iPods and we were able to use it while traveling with our families in the White Mountains. We were in two cars but able to communicate somehow with two iPods. Now family members have iPhones, iPods, iPads and their accompanying apps and programs that have greatly enhanced our communication and enjoyment of life. If you receive our monthly Brasil Report, that newsletter is created and sent using my MacBook Pro and it done quickly and easily each month.

I mentioned earlier about the task program using the Pomodoro system and have begun using it, trying to get better at it as it really has helped. I did not like the need to use paper to keep the record of tasks so I found a little app called "My Little Pomodoro" through Google. It allows me to use the computer to add tasks which are then triggered by a click and a new "Pomodoro" starts with 25 minutes ticking away. Very fast and easy and gets me into a task with a short time pressure that virtually takes away the normal interruptions to check email, look at the news, or search the web that seems always present to leave "Just Do It" and enter "Procrastination" mode. The challenge is to create the tasks and then use the system to keep you focused. I think it was only $3.99 to download the app.

Clouds at Ouro Branco
As I write this we are looking out our window in the hotel here in Ouro Branco. This is another small city along the Royal Road (Estrada Real) in our area of service. The clouds are pouring over the mountain like waves.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fortaleza, Brasil - Tranquil Beaches - Progressive City

Can You Believe It?
Guess whose feet these are. Thanks Kim for this photo idea from our visit with you and Danny on the beach near Ilheus, Brasil last year. Spending some days in this impressive city on the edge of the Atlantic engendered the feeling that it would be a great place in which to live. Speaking with a man I stopped while walking on the beach, he responded with great enthusiasm and friendliness like a Brasilian usually does. He is an attorney and some years ago left the bustling city of Rio de Janeiro to come here for its weather and people. His son runs their office while he usually walks or jogs on the beach for a time every day. Had we had more time, he invited us to visit his beach house later in the week and we would have been honored.

From the Breakwater
Being a city of over 2.5 million people, it is a busy town, but road improvements are in evidence and all the city amenities are available, such as shopping malls, hospitals, universities and business areas. The weather here was unexpected. The average high for twelve months ranges from 86 to 89 and the low averages from 70 to 77. While there is that seaside humidity felt, here at the beginning of the summer season it was very comfortable.

Not Sure What this Represents - Welcome to the Beach?
The Spaniard, Vicente Pizón, landed here on February 2, 1500 but to no avail as the Treaty of Tortesillas did not sanction the event and it became part of the new country of Brasil. Because of its natural harbor, the city has grown over the years as an industrial area and has added greatly to the county's economy.

We enjoyed the great food, the wonderful friends we found and the feeling of welcome. Perhaps one of the great places in South America to consider as home.

Fortaleza at Sunrise
As we travel here, there are opportunities to photograph such scenes as these because one of us usually has one of our smaller cameras at hand. We happened to be staying in one of these buildings along this stretch of beach and were in awe of this beauty. Billy felt the "spirit" of this place some fifteen years ago, but most of these buildings are new since we visited here with Billy and Amy.

Question for You: When you see something grand and are able to get the picture, how do you share it? Do you have a scenic photo to share this week? Make a comment here and include the link so others can see it and make that experience shareable.