Our Last Day for Goodbyes

Tomorrow is the big day!  We FINALLY get to hit the road.  We are both very excited about what is in store for us.  The hard part about leaving (besides getting packed and getting Lisa’s place ready for its new occupants) was saying goodbye. 

Lisa’s goodbyes started early as her best friend Jessica and her family were heading out on a vacation of their own last week.  It was hard explaining to Jessica’s 3 year old Finn (Lisa’s second love) that she wouldn’t see him for a while.  Thinking how much Finn and his baby brother Jack will grow up while we are on our adventure is a bit sad.  Lisa hopes to try out the webcam on her new laptop to see their smiling faces. 

A reunion at Lisa’s old company aQuantive gave us a great opportunity to say goodbye to some of her other friends last week too.  This past weekend Lisa had her last girls night out in Tacoma which was fun as always!

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We then said goodbye to our favorite breakfast place, Village Square Cafe, where we eat almost every Sunday morning!

P1040387 Today was the most difficult goodbye.  We had to leave our little kitties, Kazmo & Bits, who are being cared for by Lisa’s tenants.  We are hopeful that the transition will not be too traumatic for them.  We miss them already; it was a very sad day!

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To those of you we were not able to say goodbye to in-person, consider this our virtual goodbye. We will miss you!  Remember we are just a phone call or click away.

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Camera Test in Redmond: Bear Creek

Perhaps a little too excited about hitting the road in 4 days, Wm awoke early and walked down to Bear Creek to test his new camera (Canon 550D Ti2 DSLR) in the grey light of dawn.

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He was a little worried his 55-250mm lens wouldn’t capture flowers well, since it’s primarily for zooming-in, but it seems to do the trick!

Lisa is excited for the arrival of her new camera tomorrow (Panasonic Lumix ZS5).  Today she said goodbye to her mother who is looking forward to following our blog and exploring the country with us virtually. 

Preparations

We’re busy preparing for the journey ahead!

Our goal: to visit all National Parks in the continental U.S. this year, and hopefully make it to Europe too!

We’re both extremely excited and lucky to have this opportunity!  We plan to leave April 1st, which leaves us just over two weeks to get ready.

Tomorrow is Lisa’s last day of work at Microsoft, which consists of just a telephone exit interview.  Today she’s busy packing-up her condo to make room for her neighbor’s daughter’s family who will be taking care of it, our cats, and fish, while we’re on the road.

Wm is looking at various cameras and laptops to document the trip with.  The choices are many and difficult!  He’s also been watching WaMu stock closely, which along with personal savings, has helped to make this trip possible.  (There was a bit of a scare on Friday where it lost 70% of its value, but it recovered half of that, so the trip is still a go!)

After considering RV’s, motor-homes, custom vans, hybrid-sedans, SUV’s, and luxury cars, we’ve decided to just take Wm’s Subaru WRX STi.  It’s very lightweight and agile, is in great condition w/low miles, and best of all: doesn’t cost anything!  He recently got new brake-pads, and upgraded its exhaust & ECU to offer better fuel economy (plus performance) for the long road ahead.  He also added an in-dash GPS navigation system, Pioneer’s AVIC-Z110BT, to make it easy to find National Parks, gas stations, food, coffee, etc.  (One of the first tests of its voice recognition was "find the nearest National Park", which amazingly actually worked!)  It’s a small car, however, so we’ll be packing light.

It turns out it’s cheaper (not to mention more comfortable) to stay in various hotels inside or near the parks, rather than rent/buy an RV for several months, so that’s what we’re planning to do.  Wm was recently convinced that he didn’t need a hot shower every day, so camping is on the menu as well, to keep costs down.