We are in the final two weeks before we pull out. And we haven’t even fully decided where we are going.
Still, I am overly excited about it all. I wish the west wasn’t having a melt down. Between the California wildfires and the Washington wildfires, the red tide that stretches from the southern tip of California to the northern tip of Alaska, and now the toxic mine spill out of Colorado spilling into the Grand Canyon and New Mexico… -sighs- Then I haven’t mentioned, Florida’s recent deadly amoeba scare. North East here we come. -laughs- Another time west, another time. -shakeshead- So here I sit, typing, eating a snack… trying to keep my head sane.
As I repack the camper, I am reminded of both the good and the bad. By the time we exited the camper in February (2015) we had a running joke: “If we had a life time supply of towels, we would burn the camper down.” -laughs- No life time supply of towels ever appeared, so the camper is still standing. -laughs- This was mainly due to a ton of things we had learned and we desperately wanted a do over but we had to get out of it first.
So if you are at all considering RVing full time, take care when picking out your Camper/Rv/5th Wheel. It really does matter. Pick something that can handle ALL 4 seasons. Especially if you are planning to spend any time up north. Even if you are not planning it, consider it anyways. We learned the hard way, trust me. Our camper is a 2 season camper and twice now we have spent a winter in it… up north… Once in Tennessee (6′) and once in Colorado/Montana (-12’/-15′)…. Brrr!
Another thing that happens is the ice and snow will wedge itself in places you’d never think and suddenly you’ll find that you are popping seals like crazy…. Then you have other issues like your walls/cabinets/drawers sweating (more like pouring buckets), pipes freezing and water/gray/poop tanks freezing, tracking snow in and it puddling by the door (which is double bad when you have to walk puppies 4x a day) and it’s just all a mess. So we have decided that because we enjoy this lifestyle so much, that we are gonna buy a bus and remodel it over the next 5 years. Hopefully we do it right this time. Besides, Lilie and Little Bill are reaching an age where they are not enjoying home-school as much. It’s really the lack of an old fashion school social life AND they both have about grown right out of their cubby holes (bunks).
Okay on to things that are more fun…
Things We Learned the 1st Time Around:
1. No cardboard anything. If it’s in cardboard, find something plastic to store it in. Unless it’s food, than I’d opt for glass.
2. Less is more. Truly that is a lesson learned far to late for most RVers, including ourselves. I think the first time around we traveled for about 3-4 months; returned home and unloaded about 4 totes out of the camper and even still we could have pulled yet one more.
3. All animals need their own space. Last time we had travel cages for the cats (which the door got broken to one). They developed a routine of sleeping in them if there was too much commotion going on. The cages got shuffled around a lot and they did not seem to appreciate that very much. The dogs refused to allow us to move their bed from the middle of the walk way. That drove me insane!!!!! I’m just merely suggesting creating a ongoing, permanent spot for them. -smiles-
4. Tight spaces, Big smells. Whether it’s a trash can or a liter box…. or someone farting for that matter… Smell travels and pretty quickly too. For the trash we did 2 things. We had an inside trash can with a lid (which has been broken -frowns-) and an outside trash can with a lid. I suggest metal, in Virgina we had a squirrel eat a hole in our trash can lid. Next we used a liter that was a pine, corn mix. The cats really seemed to prefer this one (I think I would too if I had to be stuck in a tiny space with that much smell) and if it wafted out, it was pleasant for us too. For the last, I learned to keep a little air fresher handy for the middle of the night. Dog farts are the worst!
5. Everything needs a home. Period. Otherwise you may end up with unnecessary clutter or it getting broken. Example: Our first trip (literally the 1st), we left our home in Connecticut and stopped in Virginia (where we ended up with a flat tire by morning? seriously?), I opened the door to check on the animals and see how everything was riding… I was not prepared for what was waiting for me on the other side of that door. A sea of broken glass, thumb tacks and dog food. -sighs- Apparently no one find the glass jar of thumb tack a home and the large tote of dog food was not secured and fell over spilling all of its contents… Result… the above… -laughs- That was fun for days…
6. Everything needs to be secured. As stated above, this one is huge. Bungees and eye hooks work well for just about all your weird odd ball pieces. Large dog food totes, -smiles- extra tables, extra chairs, a fan, mini heater, grill, trash can, travel cages… We use them everywhere.
7. A place for dirty clothes and shoes. This one seems to hit us pretty hard. There is 6 of us in a 30 foot space. Now we can make some laundry… the problem is always where the hell to put it. Last time, that place ended up being at the foot of our bed. Not my 1st choice but merely my only choice… ugh. Shoes we kept under the kids floor area but I also hated it there because they kept getting lost in the abyss of the under carriage. I still haven’t figures this one out… and no, I’d really prefer not to hang them on the back of my living room door. There has to be a better way… Always open to suggestions. -smiles-
8. You could sweep every 20 minutes. Maybe it comes from having 2 large dogs that need walked 4 times a day or from the large amount of traffic we seem to get… But I’d swear you could sweep up a cup of dirt every 20 minutes.
9. Consider a Swiffer. That thing was amazing. It just seemed to fit into all the tight corners, reaching places my mop just could not reach. I eventually threw my regular mop away and just used that. The problem was I was not a big fan of spending $12 every time I ran out of those stupid pads. So, I suggest making a few reusable ones before you ever hit the road. How to make reusable Sweeper Pads, Wet Jet Pads.
10. Not all toilet paper is created equal. You CAN NOT use good toilet paper in an rv. That is a huge no no and the one rule that makes me the saddest. I love Charmin. Even their crappy stuff is better than the stuff you are actually recommended to use in an rv. See the problem is it clumps in the system and will back you up in the long run. Same concept as to not leaving your gray open all the time. You need the water to break up the teepee… And the teepee has to be able to break up fast and easy…
In the beginning we were your average american family.
Bill supported us for 9 years while I stayed home with the children.
About this time last year he finally asked for the year off.
To give him a chance to reboot and recharge. Spend sometime with the younger two children. Being that he worked so much when the older two where babies, he doesn’t want to miss it this time around.
How could I refuse?
Nathan was so excited to have a fun goofball like Dad to tackle all day.
And Gabbie was all about her Daddy.
So I found work and life went on.
At the time of our crazy idea, we lived in a 3 bedroom apartment on the 3rd floor in Connecticut. We loved our cozy apartment.
We had an amazing Landlord. Awesome neighbors, who happened to be our Best friends.
Recently had updated all our things.
Funny story about the plant on the table. For more about plant, see below.
The kid’s were in a great school and the bus stop was at our front door. I had 2 decent jobs, making decent money. I got along with my co-workers on an outside of work bases. We had finally made some decent friends. Had acquired a decent vehicle…
In some’s eyes, our life was complete.
But, we were Bored.
You can see it written all over each of their faces.
Life just didn’t seem to have a sparkle.
Who knew it was a Potato?
Goofing off one day, I said I was interesting in seeing what happened when you planted a potato. So Bill did… but forgot to tell anyone that he planted it in one of my house planters.
A few months later this weird plant popped up. He had long forgot about planting it and he too, started wondering what was growing. Finally after not being able to stand the mystery any longer he plucked it to discover his potato bought from the local supermarket.
Once upon a time, in 1995… two hearts met. -laughs- Actually Bill and I met because of Bill’s best friend’s girl-friend, who wanted to play match maker. Well actually, I was best friends with her and Bill was best friends with her current boy friend. We were 14 at the time. I can still remember sitting in class and her showing me this picture, asking what I thought of the kids. I knew the one boy was her boyfriend, I even knew of the odd-looking red-head. But not the blond-haired, blue-eyed boy who sat between them. She asked if she could give him my number, I agreed.
See Bill went to a different high school than I did and I think it was like 2 months before he finally did call. We hit it off immediately. Both somehow able to see past the others fronts because we had never actually met. We talked for M O N T H S. Freely about anything and everything. He was my best friend before I ever met him and I was his. After finally talking his Mom into transferring schools, Bill entered my school at the end of my 10th grade year.
Can you believe it? Don’t we look like babies.
He moved away at the end of ’97… ’98 maybe. I remember being so bummed. Somehow we managed to keep in contact. When I graduated in May 2000, I immediately began looking for my own apartment. A few weeks later, after being settled into my new apartment I caught wind that he was visiting for one week. I was so excited. Now this was at a time before cell phones were so huge. In fact, I don’t think I had a phone at all and my parents were funny about giving my address out even to known friends… I had no way of knowing where his brother was staying but I knew he was at the beach… For days I wondered how I was gonna run it to him. Finally the beach held a Latino Festival. I figured it’s a festival, I’m bound to run into him. I recall sitting at the bus stop for like an hour before I saw the first bus past on the opposite side. The street I lived on, the naval base was at the end… so the buses would go to the end sit then come back around. I watched a 2nd bus drive by. A half an hour later I watched a 3rd bus drive by and this time a lady got off and crossed the street. She looked ahead and then at me, back ahead and then turned around and started walked towards me. I assumed she much have missed her stop. But she hadn’t.
Why did she turn around and decide to come talk to me?
To this very day I’ll never know. But she walked right up and sat at the bus stop with me and started talking. Some how we got on to the topic of why I was waiting for the bus that was taking an odd amount of time to make its way back to us. I told her I was gonna roam the beach hoping to run into my best friend who was visiting for only a few more days. She apparently was so touched by my story that she gave me $7 to call a cab.
I was like, “What? Who are you? I’ll probably never see you again…”
She said… ” Well if you do, return it then and if we never see each other again… Well consider it a gift.”
At the time, I thought this lady was a bit crazy but I was extremely grateful not to have to wait for the bus any longer. -laughs- Actually, I had to make a choice about running across the street to use the payphone or stay and wait for the bus. I took my chance, made the call and ran back to the bus stop and waited. Which would arrive first? Thank goodness it was the taxi. I made it out to the beach only costing a few dollars. I walked around the festival for a few hours… Maybe not even a few hours, I’m not really sure. At some point I gave up and decided that I’d visit a friend who is working in a store a few blocks from where I was. I walked pasted a set of back ally stairs, as he was coming down them.
Was it fate?
We have pretty much been together ever since. 11 years now.
We will have been Married 2 years as of September 6. Was it always perfect? Of course not. We had to work for it like anything else.
But it was so worth it.
And I bet you are wondering about that lady.
Yes, about 2 years later Bill and I ran into her one afternoon in a Taco Bell, while she was waiting for her daughter to get off work. I tried to repay her then but she kindly replied
“Seeing you two together and that Beautiful little Baby (referring to Lilie) is payment enough.” and then she smiled.