Letting go of our mooring ropes

Having mulled over what I love about this area in my previous post, I have to face what it will take to get us on the road again. We’ve made ourselves comfortable here; after all, we will have been here 3/4 of a year. Unweaving the strands of connection that tie us here will take some effort. Here are some of the things on my mind.

The mechanics of leaving our house:

We’re in a rental that has required us to take over all the utilities and services. Between Jonathan and I we have to detach ourselves from the house:

  • Property management company: End lease, final cleaning, security deposit
  • Terminate accounts: Water, sewer, gas &electric, cable & internet—return cable box and related stuff
  • Change all shipping addresses: Amazon, prescriptions by mail. I have to think about whether there is anyone who corresponds with me by mail, who I might lose on this next move.

Inside the house there are different tasks:

  • Figure out what is ours and what belongs to the property. This is a tricky one, as we seem to add things by stealth; they just appear, especially in the kitchen. Now we have to hold up each implement and ask, “Is this ours?” This isn’t just because we want these things, we often don’t, but we don’t want a complaint from the realtor that we left “junk” behind.
  • Rearrange the furniture to its original configuration. Fortunately, I took photos.
  • Offer excess goods to family, return borrowed items and a few new things to Lyra in Mountain View, and offer some things on Next Door.
  • Donate what is left to a local charity thrift shop that I like. A few of the items originally came from it.


Our goal is two suitcases, plus carry-on. We still have our Prius, so we will take along a couple of plastic bins of pantry items. Each of us manages our own suitcase, and the volume of clothing and toiletries is limited by how we each pack. I already have a pile of clothing to donate. I’ve replaced three worn-out tops with others, replaced a pair of pants, and decided to leave another pair behind just to keep the numbers down. I’ll be abandoning a very worn pair of shoes and donating another just to get back to the two pairs of shoes I started with 18 months ago. I still have too many pairs of pants.

The Studio

When we arrived in California, I was very low on beach glass, and after our first few outings to the beach, I wondered whether I’d be able to make much of anything. Then we hit our stride, and now I have an Etsy site: http://llywindatreasures.etsy.com, that shows all the things I’ve made.

There is glass covering the tops of two tables, and a variety of tools, my Dremel, findings, beads, and miscellaneous items we’ve collected on the beach.

When to stop making jewelry is another question. I have a necklace in progress, and pieces for another that Jonathan has already drilled for me. Yet another is on a tray waiting to get drilled. I have just completed a pair of earrings and a new brooch, and I have lots of pieces for earrings that are drilled and waiting. I’ve been trying something new, and the experimental pieces are almost ready to contemplate. At some point, I have to stop and put everything away, but I have another week or two before I have to face that.

Sorting out what to leave behind is a particular torture. I am trying to divide up the beach glass, keeping the most rounded pieces. As soon as I’ve made a couple of piles, I think of some of the nice things I’ve made from irregular pieces, and I wonder whether I am saving enough. I will have several pounds, so I am probably ok.

My growing collection of jewelry making supplies: rings, hooks, chain, silver wire, etc, has to be packed carefully so that I can find what I need without dumping everything onto a table top. Clearing up the studio often takes longer than any of my other packing. I have about three times as much stuff as when we arrived.

As we go beach combing, we collect odds and ends that look interesting, and we now have a table covered with abalone shells, strangely shaped rocks called “hag stones,” various plastic toys, a crab trap clip, and a bucket full of beach toys. During one of the next low tides, we’ll take some of the rocks, shells, and beach glass and put them back on the beach, but the plastic will have to go (I’ll donate the bucket of toys).

Leaving Town

A couple of other ties are the mail service (should I have mail forwarded to our next address or to Chicago?), and regular doctor’s appointments. I have found that my insurance company assigns payment for my eye injections to a single provider for one year. Before I leave, I have to get that arrangement un-done, or I will be unable to get treatment at my next stop. This has already happened to me a couple of times and it takes about a week to sort out, during which time it is very stressful to sit and wait, knowing my symptoms will worsen. Following up on the health insurance has become mandatory housekeeping.

We have tried to reduce the paper mail we receive, but there are utilities, like our current sewer service, that do not use electronic payment systems. How can that be? Medical organizations still send out a lot of paper, too, and I’ve been stashing all the receipts that might be needed in a pile. Now I have to sort through them. I will photograph anything that could prove useful, but keep only a few, like the title to the car. It only takes about an hour to go through everything, but I usually put it off until our last week.

What has happened to our Covid-19 concerns during this time? California is not suffering too much right now, though cases are not decreasing. We really hope that the newest variant doesn’t lead to a new wave of cases. We travel with a box of disposable masks and another of disposable gloves, though these are remnants of the past year rather than anything new. Like everyone else, now that we’re vaccinated, we’d like to put the pandemic behind us if that’s possible.

Travel Plans

I may have the easier part of preparing for our departure, as Jonathan is making all the travel arrangements. As we know now, many people are on the move. Airbnb properties are not as numerous as they were in the past, prices have gone up, gas prices are up, National Parks are bursting at the seams, and motel prices match all the other increases. To keep track of everything, he creates a Word document that lists each element of our trip, where we will drive each day on our way north, where we will spend the night, confirmation numbers, and later, flight numbers, rental car information, and directions to new Airbnbs. It’s helpful to have a paper copy of all this information in case phone service is not good. We currently have USmobile phone service, which gives us unlimited calls and text and more data than we can use for $30 each per month. However, it also means we sometimes have no service at all. These days, the worst reception is inside our house (Sigh).

On the bright side, we will head north and spend our first night in Eureka, CA so that we can hug Amanda and Jim one more time on our way out of their state. The next day, we make a brief detour to the Cowhorn Winery, Jacksonville, OR. We’ll pick up wine for my sister Paula in Portland, OR and perhaps have a tasting, then continue on our way north. The next night will find us at our new home on Bainbridge Island, WA and I’m sure by that point I will have forgotten all the steps it took to cast off and look forward to landing in a new place.


Published by winifredcreamer

I am a retired archaeologist and I like to travel, especially to places where you can walk along the shore or watch birds. My husband Jonathan and I travel for more than half the year every year, seeing all the places that we haven't gotten to yet.

2 thoughts on “Letting go of our mooring ropes

  1. It sounds like the adventure you imagined several yrs ago. Here things move at a different pace. My beautiful wife passed away from brain cancer in 2018 and I’m now on dialysis 3 times a week. Limits travel. I’m now back at the very different museum, for first time in nearly a year. Enjoy your lives; one never knows the future. Jim


    1. Jim, I am so sorry to hear about your wife. It has been a difficult year for so many of our friends. Dialysis is probably not much fun, though I’d guess you read a lot. Enjoy the museum, such as it is. We’re keeping on for now…..Cheers,


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