Hoten Holler!


Selling our Home

It Begins!


On Friday morning March 25th we picked up the U-Haul truck and a 6×12 trailer.  Around noon the safe moving company that we hired showed up and moved our gun safe from the bedroom and loaded it in the truck.  To us it was worth the money to have a professional move an 800lb safe so no one got hurt.  This was a big relief to get this done!

Saturday morning was rainy and the forecast was not looking good for loading, but by 1200 the rain stopped and it looked like we could get some work done.  Around 11 Andy, my friend from work, and Neil, our neighbor came over and we got started.  We had a plan where the bigger items were going on the truck and the plan was to just have our friends help for just an hour or so with the heavy stuff we could not move ourselves.  However, once we got started we just kept going and we got so much done on the first day of loading!  Sunday it rained all day, loading would have to wait!

On Monday we started the truck to move it and discovered it had a hole in the radiator, really?!  We had a lot of our household stuff already loaded including that safe we paid to have moved.  The thought of having to unload, rent a different truck and reload was not something we wanted to do.  We called U-Haul and they sent a tow truck to take it to Pensacola for repair.  They said it would be a 2-3 hour repair if they could find a radiator in the local area.  Later that day U-Haul called and said the radiator they found also had a leak and there was not another within 100 miles of Pensacola.  Best case, another radiator would be here by 11 on Tuesday and then a 2-3 hour repair.  We are now a little worried we wouldn’t be able to finish loading and clean the house in time for closing on Thursday!

We got a call early Tuesday morning the part came in and the truck was fixed and on the way back to our house!!  Andy and Chaps came over and we got started again and by the end of the day we had almost everything loaded except for what we plan to travel with and use in the RV once we get to Custer.  Thanks for all the help Andy!

Wednesday March 30th:  I had my final flight in the T-6B, a nice lunch with all the maintenance folks, and after that we headed back to the house for the final cleaning.  The buyers wanted to do a final walk through at 4:30 and we finally got everything cleaned at about 4:15!

Thursday March 31st:  We closed in the morning and finally got on the road around 10:30, a later start than we planned but at least we were headed out of town.  The weather forecast was not great for our route especially in the northern part of Alabama but we had no choice, that was the route.  On our second stop I locked the keys to the U-Haul inside the cab!  That mistake cost us over 2 hours and we were not able to then make our planned stop of Jonesboro, AR.  Instead, we decided to press on as far as we could get.  As night approached, the skies began to fill with lightning and thunder, and we found ourselves fighting some heavy rain showers and high winds.  As soon as it became completely dark, both of our phones sounded the emergency alert that we were in a tornado warning area. We decided to stop at the nearest hotel which was in Winfield, AL.  As we scrambled to find a parking spot for the enormous truck and trailer, the Winfield tornado sirens sounded.  We ran into the hotel where no one seemed too worried about the sirens, and fortunately were able to get a room for the night.  We were exhausted and frustrated that we only covered 296 miles on a day we had planned for just over 500.  We reminded ourselves….this is an adventure and there would be some setbacks.  We said, “Tomorrow, we re-attack!”

More to follow as the journey continues…


We hired Scott’s Gun Shop to load the safe


The caption on the door says it all

Load Planimageimageimage

So day 2 of what was supposed to be a 3 day journey, we travelled over 500 miles from Winfield, AL to Springfield, MO.  We had great weather and some rough roads and traffic in Memphis, but we plowed on up and over the winding roads through the Ozarks,  and stopped in Missouri.  The next day we drove to Council Bluffs, IA in a 30 mph crosswind for 5 hours.  Originally we had planned to stay 2 days in Council Bluffs so we could spend some time with Jen’s parents and brother. After driving a 26 foot U-Haul and trailer in nearly tropical storm force winds, we agreed we should stay 2 days even though we were a day behind.  Plus, it was great to see Ron, Eileen, and Bill for a little while.

Outside the hotel in Council Bluffs, IA

We left the Bluffs on the 4th, well rested and ready to go again.  Fortunately we had waited the extra day as the entire state of South Dakota was in a high wind advisory on the day we had originally intended to travel.  We would have been facing a 30 mph headwind the whole way, with gusts up to 40 mph!  Instead, we had only slight winds on the 4th which made for an easier journey.  Our morale was high as we crossed into South Dakota.

It is a fun road trip across I-90, filled with beautiful scenery, rolling hills, wildlife, and strange tourist attractions.  We stopped at Al’s Oasis for a buffalo burger and ate lunch overlooking the Missouri River.  We bypassed the Mitchell Corn Palace but we did stop for some ice cream at the iconic Wall Drug.  We also laughed at all  the signs for the Firehouse Winery in Rapid, including a series of signs that included this limerick (NO Kidding!):

“There once was a farmer named Lear

Who had a fine cow that gave beer.

Ports, Reds and others

came from her udders,

And pretzels came out of her rear!”

Well we finally made it to Rapid City!  The storage unit we rented allowed us to park our U-Haul and trailer inside the gate the day we arrived and we scheduled the moving help for the 5th.  We needed some rest!

On Tuesday the 5th we got up early and went to the storage unit and started sorting short term storage (what we may need in the RV) from long term storage.  The moving helpers showed up right on time and what took 3 days to load was unloaded and neatly packed in a 10’x30′ storage unit in 2 hours flat!  We can’t say enough good things about the Thomas and Sons Moving Company!


Long term vs short term
4 guys carried our 850lb gun safe down the U-Haul ramp and into the storage unit!


Somehow they got everything from the truck and the trailer in one storage unit!


Well we bought an RV today!

Timeline Moved Up!

Well we are leaving Florida at the end of March!  We tried to find a decent rental for a couple of months but the places we looked at were not all that great.  Plus, moving all of our stuff into storage here only to move everything out and back into a U-Haul, drive to South Dakota and put back in storage just didn’t seem like a good idea.  So, we are trying to get everything ready and rent the truck on  March 28th, have two full days for loading and then give the house a good cleaning.  Then we close on the house on the 31st and head out of town!

We are looking at the possibility of workamping in Custer this spring through summer.  If you’ve never heard of the term, “workamping”, neither had we.  It turns out lots of campgrounds and RV parks place ads for couples to work a certain amount of hours per week in exchange for full hookups.  The place we are looking at offers free electric, water, cable tv, sewage hookup, and wifi in exchange for 26 hours of work per week, per couple.  So we each work 13 hours and they make sure we have the same days off.  In the height of tourist season the rate is around $40 per night so this is a great opportunity.  We will still have plenty of time to visit the property during construction and help out when Todd lets us.

For now we are searching Craig’s List for a RV in the Rapid City area that’s in our budget.  Once we arrive in South Dakota the first week of April we’ll need a place to stay for a few days in order to get the truck unloaded, find and RV and move it to a location we can stay for several months.

We have a signed contract!

The house has been on the market for a month and on Saturday evening we got an full price offer.  Today both parties signed the contract and we are scheduled to close on March 31st!



Well, we had our first viewing of the house on Tuesday.  Of all days, I was very sick, still am actually but we won’t be able to sell it if no one can see it!  They showed up about 30 minutes early so fortunately everything was pretty much done.  Elvis and I took a long walk and when we returned they were gone.

2016 Is Finally Here!

It’s finally here, 2016!! Woot Woot! Every New Year’s Day we get up and watch the sun rise. This has replaced the traditions from our younger days, which included staying up late on New Year’s Eve and trying to sleep off the party on New Year’s Day. This year January 1 in Milton, Florida was overcast and gray in the morning. We were not dissuaded from being happy though, as we said, “Next year we will be ringing in the New Year from Hoten Holler!”


So here we go. Thanks to the awesomely talented and super nice Leah Tate, we have our house listed on the MLS. We are awaiting a visit from what Leah refers to as the “sign fairy” to drop off the “For Sale” sign early this week. Then comes the fun of keeping the house show-ready at all times. While we are not inherently sloppy, it is an exercise in vigilance keeping your house constantly spotless. This task becomes even more complicated when you throw in a slobbery and shedding Doberman with a penchant for leaving tennis balls everywhere. Nonetheless, we will do what we can to get this house sold and get on down the road!


Here is a link to the listing:  Our house


Wish us luck. We are so grateful for what a wonderful year 2015 was for us. We are extremely blessed with wonderful family and friends. It will be hard to leave Florida because of the people we know and love here, but we keep hearing that song….”Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam…” While we have no idea what to expect, we think all the best life stories start out that way! Here’s to a brand new year!

Days away from listing our house!

We are gearing up for putting our house on the market January 1st.  There’s still lots to do before it’s ready but the good news is our work schedule is slowing down for the Christmas break so we both can work on the remaining items.

We had black lava rock in our flower beds on the front side of the house and for a long time it looked great.  However, over the years the bush and hedge trimmings that fell into the rock looked a little messy.  We placed an ad on Craig’s List for free lava rock and people came and raked and loaded it up!  People love free stuff.  Next we shopped around for mulch and found a lumber yard not too far away and got 4 cubic yards of mulch for a very good price, looks much better now.


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