First, I'd like to thank all of you for your responses. Second, perhaps some further explanation/clarification is in order. I'll start by providing our profile here, as it will answer several questions:
In late 2008 we bought a used RV, closed up our house in Columbus, Ohio, and headed south on a “shake down” trip. Returning to Columbus in the spring, we set about remodeling it to make it suit our needs and cleaning out our house. That which could not fit into the RV was sold or donated. Having sold the house, in September 2009, we bid Columbus a fond farewell and “went on the road” full time. Since then it has been a pleasure and a privilege to have visited all fifty states and forty three of the state capitols, a good many of our National Parks, as well as seven Canadian provinces and several Canadian National Parks. We call this mobile retirement.
We are currently planning step two of our mobile retirement, international travel part one. The RV will go into storage, and we will go to Europe for our first visit, an extended one. The present plan is to sail in April 2017 and return to Florida for the winter. Lots and lots and lots of reading going on here!
Denis is a retired architect, so, as always, he gets to choose most of the buildings. I (Donna) have an interest in growing things, so the garden and green space choices are mine. We are both vegan and both like to cook.
So, as you may see, we don't have a fixed address, as our home has wheels. All we own is with us, nothing is in storage. Therefore, unlike those with a fixed domicile, we must decide where to be each and every night. That grants us a great deal of freedom. Traveling in our retirement was part of our long term financial plan. We have a budget, just like everyone else, and we live within it.
We are no longer interested in full time travel in the RV, as, to borrow from the late, great BB King, the thrill is gone. So we have turned our sights toward that part two of our mobile retirement, international travel. Last year the beast (its nickname) went into a storage garage and we sailed to Europe in early April, returning shortly before Thanksgiving. We wish to structure this year's trip a bit differently, using our permitted 90 days in the Schengen area earlier in the season, before a good many visitors arrive. That leaves us with three and a half months to fill before we return to Florida and get our home out of its garage and live in it for the winter.
Our first visit to the San Francisco area was in October of 2010, where we parked the beast at an oceanfront site in Pacifica. Oops, those no longer exist, coastal erosion. But the sunset picture we took is still on the (old) GPS. ;-) We met some people from my (Donna) veg discussion board, who showed us around a bit. Our second visit was two years later, and showed us some of the opposite side of the metropolitan area, as we stayed in Pleasanton at the fairgrounds. We have also stayed at the Napa and Sonoma county fairgrounds. We found we liked the area and filed it away as a place to consider when we stop roaming. Yes, we are indeed aware that housing costs are very high. But then, coming from central Ohio, that really rather applies to all of California for us!
This visit has two purposes. As we've always wanted to return, we have the opportunity to do that now without needing to find a place to park the RV, which is not always easy in many places. We also wish to look at the area without the tourist colored glasses we saw it through before. We want to see if it is indeed an option for post-nomadic life, or if it just cannot work. One way or another, we hope this trip will answer that question. And we'll have a good time as well.