Week 27 – Getting ready for our return home…

As we come to the end of our trip we are preparing for our return home. This summizes a twofold to do list. One focused on rapping up our affairs in the US and one to ensure our return home allows us to pick up where we left of 6 months ago. Given our limited connectivity this is a rather tedious process, but we are continuously chipping away and are making steady progress. Below please find the action items we have compiled so far. Some these are rather trivial, but documenting these lists has been quite helpful to ensuring we don’t forget anything!

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US To Do List:

  • [DONE] Contract an enclosed storage unit for Gonki – Oasis RV & Boat Storage.
  • [DONE] Terminate US phone contracts.
  • [DONE] Terminate international health insurance policy.
  • [OPEN] Extend insurance policy for Gonki + explore whether the cost of insurance can be reduced during storage. Ensure friends can drive Gonki even when we are not present.
  • [OPEN] Extend license plates with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. These are currently due to expire in Novemer 2018. While this sounds simple, this will be an interesting challenge as we are out of state + aren’t US citizens. Fingers crossed!
  • [OPEN] Get Gonki professionally cleaned inside and out. 6 months on the road have taken it’s toll and before being put away Gonki deserves are thorough cleanse (Austin Detailing Company).
  • [OPEN] Winterize Gonki to ensure that no appliances are damaged during storage. Winterization is primarily targeted at the following areas: (1) water system incl. fresh and waste water , (2) batteries and (3) tires. I will make sure to document the process and required equipment to be shared in a future post.
  • [OPEN] Prepare Gonki for potential usage by our friends. This includes producing a short series of tutorial videos, making a list of our inventory + compiling some tips & tricks that we have learned over the past months that are worth being shared.

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DE To Do List:

  • [DONE] Sign Mieke into her courses for her new semester at university.
  • [DONE] Schedule first Friday Dinner (October 26th).
  • [DONE] Revive DE phone contracts.
  • [DONE] Schedule the boys induction into their new kindergarten.
  • [DONE] Schedule an appointment with the boys pediatrition to obtain the required confirmation that they are both healthy and allowed to start at their new kindergarten.
  • [OPEN] Revive DE health insurance policy.
  • [OPEN] Place an order with REWE to arrive on the day after our arrival to make sure we have a full refrigerator right from the start.
  • [OPEN] Find me a job.

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Visa extension request: Pending

Earliest date that we need to leave the US as of now: 19th of October.

We did it or rather the Department of Homeland Security didn’t do it and we don’t need to make any changes to our travel plans. We will be back in Berlin on October 21st as originally planned! Can’t wait!

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For the last two weeks of our trip we will be staying with Mieke’s cousin’s husband Scott and his son Sebastien in Austin. Sebastien has just started elementary school and we are very excited to see how Benni will interact and benefit from their time together. We are also looking forward to a joint camping trip to Kickapoo Cavern State Park (05.10 – 07.10) that will hopefully get Scott and Sebastien excited about Gonki. Having someone in Austin to use and look after the camper from time to time would obviously be fantastic!

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Our week in bullet points:

  • We spent three days at Arches NP. Devils Garden Campground located amongst the rock formations that make the park so special was an absolute treat. We tried to make the most of our time at Arches and hiked the Broken Arch trail (3.2km) that started right at our campsite. I made sure to explore the Primitive Trail at Devils Garden that took me to a number of the most renowned formations in the park: Landscape Arch, Double O Arch, Dark Angle and more (14.6km, 105m elevation gain). We of course also made sure to pay Delicate Arch a visit (5km, 146m elevation gain) . While the Arch is truly stunning, the hike to get there can at best be described as boring. You walk up a a heavily trafficed 2.5km monotonous ramp that offers no shade and no views. One has to wonder whether there isn’t a more appealing route to get to the Arch…
  • We spent one day in Moab to replenish our supplies and do some laundry. It was quite relaxing to spend the afternoon at the pool and have dinner in the form of Pizza delivered to our campsite. The conveniences of urban life are starting to eminate an irresistible allure! We are ready for Berlin!
  • We spent two days at Canyonlands NP revelling in the vastness of this remote dessert wilderness. Benni and I made sure to climb the hill next to the campground to revisit the place where Moritz and I enjoyed the sunset back in 2009. It’s always fun to reminisce!
  • We stopped over at Monument Valley. While the iconic landscape is a must see, I was once again appalled by the commercialisation carried out by the Navajo tribe. I just never appreciate being hustled for my patronage. Benni and I nonetheless went on a 2.5 hours sunset tour. Spending some quality father son time, while driving through the Valley in the back of a pickup = priceless!

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