February 2005 -
Well, it's official!! The restaurant is for sale, the ad is in the paper and the calls are flooding in. Hooray! We are also in the process of renting out our house that we bought back in 1997, a mere 5 months after we got married. Boy time sure flies when you're having fun. It's wonderful that we have had so much interest on the restaurant, however we have only had a handful of people look at the house, but we are quite confident both will be off our hands before our departure date which seems to change on a weekly basis. We have had two garage sales and have sold most of our belongings that won't be coming with us on the road. It is amazing how much "junk" we have accumulated in our 8 years of marriage while living in this house and will only be taking the bare necessities. I think that we had three sets of pots and pans. Who needs that many pots and pans?! Especially when we hardly ever cook! One doesn't have to cook much when the menu of a restaurant is at your fingertips. The motorhome is getting some more warranty issues taken care of, again!!! :-( . I certainly hope that we don't have many more issues with the Trek once we hit the road. It would be terrible to be stuck somewhere unable to get to our next location because of mechanical errors on a brand new coach. It is definitely a love/hate relationship with this darn motorhome. We love the floor plan and design of the motorhome, but we are less than impressed with Monaco's level of craftsmanship and quality control. Enough said!! Note to self, and anyone reading, never buy another Monaco product again! We are really excited about our initial career on the road. We will be working for a company called MainGate. We will follow them to all the NHRA events around the country and assist them selling NHRA licensed merchandise. We will start out working in the store that is 4,000 square feet. It travels via semi-trailer from race to race and no we don't have to drive anything other than our little house on wheels. It is quite impressive how the whole system works. We will be working in the same building with the same people each week, but our location will change every weekend. We are greatly looking forward to seeing the majority of this great country in less than a year! We worked at the Pomona event earlier this month to try it out and see if it was something we would enjoy and lucky for us it was even more fun and enjoyable than we expected it to be.
The Buellton house is getting emptier by the day, just as we get more excited about our new adventure beginning as each day passes. After carefully looking over each offer we received on the restaurant and consulting our accountant, we have accepted an offer and are currently waiting for escrow to open on Antonio's Pizza. If it opens on time, barring any delays, we should close at the end of April, which coincidently is that same time frame we closed when we bought it back in 1996. We hope to hit the road on July first and head towards Colorado for the July 15th drag race in Denver. Thank you Jesus that everything is working out so well. Neither of us can believe our dream of traveling is really coming true. It just shows that a lot of hard work and a plan early on in life really does pay off. Our philosophy has always been, never wait to save money for the future, save and we are so thankful we listened to ourselves way back when.
The restaurant is officially in escrow and will only be ours for another thirty days (April 30 is the scheduled date to close escrow). We will be moving into our motorhome sometime this month so that we can adjust to living in it full-time and that we can get our house cleaned out for the future tenants. It will be a great way to see exactly what we need and what we don't need to make it our new home. It will be a bit of an adjustment since it is only 8 1/2 feet wide and 30 feet in length, but we are very optimistic. It is one thing to stay in it occasionally for a week or two at a time where you can live without little things for a day or two, but who knows what it will be like living permanently in it, which is exactly why we are moving into it early and while it's still in the driveway. Check back with us in a couple months and see how it pans out. :-) Call us crazy, but we have no doubts it will be as fun as we are expecting. Our plan now is to leave around the beginning of June and head up to Oregon to the Monaco factory. We have been having problems with the front entry door to our Trek, for some reason it doesn't like to close and that is a key issue when driving down the road. The plant supervisor has contacted Frank and has arranged for us to show up at the factory and they will perform the work whenever we arrive and send us back out on the road in a timely fashion. It will be fun to see the plant where our motorhome was built and more importantly it will be nice to get all the things fixed, there are too many little things to mention. They said they would even show us how the new ones are built. Maybe we can give them some pointers on how to run their operation a little more efficiently and not have as many problems from the get go. Once we leave Oregon, we have until the middle of July to get to Colorado for work. How crazy is it to think that we will have so much time off and be able to do whatever we want. What a dream come true. From there, we will be following the rest of the circuit for 2005. We will log over 11,000 miles between July and December and then have about 2 months off. Keep in mind we have almost every other week off before that as well, so our work schedule will be a piece of cake... we hope. Once February comes back around and we are still having fun out on the open road, we will begin the following season in February 2006 and work an entire season with Main Gate and the NHRA. There are 23 events so we will work 23 weeks a year and have the rest off to play around the country and enjoy our lives and each other. Have I mentioned lately how excited we are about this adventure??
Change of plans:
Surprise, surprise, we have changed our plans yet again!!! We have discovered that Monaco has technicians at many of the NHRA events so there is no need for us to make a special trip, a couple 1000 miles out of our way, to the factory for our repairs. In fact while we were in Vega,s trying out another event with Main Gate, just to make sure the first one wasn't just a honeymoon phase, the Monaco technicians adjusted our door while we were at work. What a great set up. Let's hope that they are a little better with their mobile repair facility then they are with their dealership repair facilities. Positive thinking, positive thinking. :-)
Escrow has closed on our restaurant!! We are now unemployed!! Well, only temporarily..... It is very strange adjusting to having very little responsibility, but surprisingly very fun. Frank is so cute, he doesn't know quite what to do when he wakes up in the morning. He does go in for a couple hours each day to help out Mark, the new owner, but Mark has caught on to everything so fast he doesn't need to much of Frank's help. Thank you God! We know it isn't our restaurant anymore, but it was our baby for so long it's nice to see someone competent buy it and run it. We are a little selfish in the fact that we love the food so much we want it to be here when we come back to visit, hee hee hee. We have been living in the Trek for almost one entire month now and surprisingly, it has not been that hard to adjust to. We decided that once we had it packed up for the Las Vegas race we would not move out of it, even when we were back in Buellton. However I do wonder what all the neighbors think, at least the ones that don't know what we are doing. Oh well it gives them something to talk about I guess. Camping out full-time has actually been a lot of fun. We hardly notice the house is still there, and we never go inside except to show it to potential renters. This way it stays nice and clean. Speaking of clean, the motorhome is great because it only takes a few minutes to clean it and it feels very cozy and comfortable to hang out in it. We have about three weeks left here in town and then we will be hitting the road. I still have a couple weeks left at the horse ranch training my replacement - Which happens to be my sister-in-law Renee who is doing an awesome job. This change has seemed to be rewarding for everyone. Renee, who has happily been a stay at home mom up until this point, can set her schedule around the girls' school and sports schedule, so their family time isn't diminished at all.
WE ARE NOW ON THE ROAD!!!
Our first weekend out we went to see a race at Mesa Marin Speedway in Bakersfield California. We have great friends that run and drive the team of the #9 Greg Voigt car in the Southwest Series of NASCAR, so we spent the weekend with them. It was soooo weird not to have to head back to Buellton for work, the most fabulous weird we could have imagined. Yes, we will head back to finalize everything, but not for work! Yaaayyy!!! After the race we went a little bit further east, to Lake Isabella and Kernville. What a crazy road on the way out here. The two lane road to get here is very narrow and has a cliff wall on one side that sometimes hangs out over the white line. It was a very slow and nerve-racking trip in the motorhome. Lake Isabella is...well....ugly! There are hardly any trees or plants and everything is brown. Even after all the rains that we have had this year. Because the lake was so unappealing we decided to head further north to Kernville. It is much nicer here. Still brown, but we are camped right next to the Kern River and it's FREE! We have absolutely no neighbors, and great nature views as far as the eye can see. However we are a bit lonely out here with no one around so we will head out tomorrow to more populated places. The official "hit the road date" is close!! We are so excited and this trial run was great. We didn't have restaurant worries, which no matter how many times I say it out loud, I still can't grasp it. It took about 3 days before Frank realized "The restaurant may never call me again, and I can't tell you how wonderful that makes me feel". I can see a little more stress leave his body everyday. Even the birds are happier since they get to be with us all day, whether they are inside their cages in the motorhome, or outside hanging from a perch under the Easy-Up. Every so often it hits both of us that Wow, we really are doing this! We really have accomplished what we set out to do, and we are living out our wildest dreams. We realize a few of you out there think we have driven off the deep end and gone completely nuts... ... and we are absolutely fine with that. :)