Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Coming up for air

We are back on the street in Sunnyvale, California (map), a block from the Elks lodge here. Yesterday afternoon marked two full weeks parked at the San Jose Elks lodge, technically the limit there.

While I was packing up to leave, the camp host wandered over and offered that we could stay longer if we needed to. Apparently, the 14-night limit is enforced only when necessary. And while we do need some more time here in the bay area, we were ready for a change of venue, and besides, after two full weeks, our waste tanks need to be emptied, and there is no dump in San Jose. There is a dump, though, at the Sunnyvale lodge just a block from here, and we headed straight there after leaving San Jose mid-afternoon.

Sunnyvale has a bunch of arcane rules about when the dump station can be used; apparently their sewer connection can get overwhelmed, and they don't want the dump used on the weekends when the lodge is busy. That's fine, but they also seem to decide arbitrarily to close it at other, unpublished times too. So when we pulled in yesterday afternoon, they told us it was "not a good time" to use the dump. I had to pressure the guy into telling me when, exactly, would be a good time, since I already knew Thursday-Sunday were out. He finally conceded that today before noon would be OK, and since the lodge office, where the dump station key is kept, does not open until 11, that gives us a window of an hour to get dumped. We don't have enough tank capacity left to wait until Monday, so we picked a handy spot on the street for the night, and tried not to disturb too many of the carefully arranged boxes in the living room.

Speaking of which, I can now report that the storage closet in our condo building in San Jose is now completely empty. The last item, a chest of drawers, was picked up by its eBay buyer yesterday morning, which contributed to the sense that we could be done for a while in San Jose. The vast majority of the closet's contents are now gone forever, with the remaining bits arranged in our living room and the scooter bay while we deal with them. After two solid weeks of work, interrupted only by nightly dinners and a handful of lunches with our various bay area friends, we've made a huge amount of progress.

The tally so far:
  • Four bankers boxes of records to the shredder
  • Five boxes of paper, metal, and other miscellaneous materials to recycling
  • Five boxes of items to Goodwill
  • Four lots picked up through "Freecycle"
  • Two boxes of keepsakes passed on to other family members
  • Over $2,000 raked in on eBay, across 40 lots of items
  • Another $700 in sales on Craigs List and direct to Internet dealers
  • Only two boxes of stuff to the trash
What's left in the bus are a few boxes of items that are sold but not yet paid for or shipped, and three boxes left to be sorted. Those would include thousands of photographs, including slides, which would explain why I have not yet sold the professional model Ektagraphic slide projector, currently down in the bay. Also down in the bay is the three pounds of Freon R-12 in a 30-lb cylinder that I can't seem to sell, even though I've dropped the price all the way to $30.

I still have some items on eBay (and several things ready to list), including the talking sock puppet and related items that we bought for a staggering $250 at a charity auction, which I explained in this post. I'm also taking advantage of this flurry of eBay activity to get rid of some things that have been kicking around the bus for several months, waiting for me to get motivated.

We are committed here in the bay area for another week, until at least the 12th, unless we get called for disaster work. At least we can now move the bus on a moment's notice, even with the handful of boxes. We may stay somewhat beyond that, depending on how many of our friends we've managed to visit by then. After that, the schedule is something of a tabula rasa until June, when we need to be in Minneapolis for a meeting. The NüRVers rally in Texas is probably too close in for us to try to make. One possibility might be to head up to Anacortes for Trawler Fest, and stop by Infinity for some maintenance.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go dump my tanks.


  1. Congrats on all the progress!!

    Unless someone cancels for NuRVers, it would be too late to sign up anyway. It's a very small campground, and we've got the place booked to capacity already :)

    If it works out to stop by Gateway Burn near St. Louis on your way to Minneapolis, would be most excellent to see you there. June 10-13.

    Hope your tank dumping was successful!

  2. Sunnyvale is suspiciously close to Sunnydale. Watch out for vampires!

  3. Whew. I thought you had abandoned us. Glad all is well in CA. I have a daughter and son n law who just relocated to Monteray Beach. Keep us posted.

  4. Hi Sean! Would you please give Louise a message for me? She mentioned she was keeping her eye out for the release of some hip women's scooter outerwear (mod jackets w/ armor). Anyway, I happened to see their brochure at Scoot Over today. Here is their Web site: Tell her they're amazing, but not at all cheap ($280-$400!) We miss you guys -- especially with all this great scootering weather here in AZ. Continue to travel safe!

  5. Glad to see you back and so glad to see you taking care of all that stuff in such an earth friendly way, only two boxes of trash- very impressive!!!

  6. I am inspired by your down-sizing motivation.

  7. Lots to answer...

    @Cherie/Technomadia: Thanks. Re NuRVers, I have never seen a rally of any sort that could not squeeze one more rig in somehow, so I would not be worried if we thought we could make it, but I think the calendar will prevent us. Re Gateway Burn, it is on our calendar but we also have a conflict on the 10th, so we can not commit as yet.

    @Ryan: I did not get the reference and had to Google it. Sorry, never saw Buffy.

    @Barry: Saw your earlier comment as well. I try to post every time we move the bus. When we park someplace for a couple weeks, there may not be any updates here, especially if we are engrossed in projects or working a disaster. During these lulls in the blog, we are usually Tweeting, so you can follow our Twitter feeds either in the side bar of the blog, above, or directly through Twitter.

    @Pami: Thanks. Saw your message on FB as well. Louise and I both get email from any comments here. She really wants to see these jackets in person, so we're continuing to check in with various shops as we travel. One day we will find the intersection of our route and Go Go Gear distribution.

    @Judy (Royal Ranch): Our motto is reduce, reuse, recycle here aboard Odyssey. In fact, Louise is leaning towards the ethos of "The Compact": buy nothing new except consumables. I'm not fully there yet, as I buy all my clothes new, but I do wear them out completely. Freecycle is a great resource for us triple-R types, BTW.

    @Johnny: For Louise, this comes naturally. As a military brat, she was never allowed to accumulate anything, and she's kept a tidy life ever since. I, on the other hand, grew up in a family with a depression-era "keep anything and everything that may ever be useful" mindset, and downsizing onto the bus six years ago was a struggle for me. It took nearly two years to rid myself of a lifetime of accumulation, and the closet of skeletons was the distillation of the most difficult of all possessions. Having it empty now is somewhat cathartic.

  8. S&L,

    I just checked out and Odyssey is on the home page.



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