Living Full Time In Our RV. First Month In Review.
So we are officially one month into living full time in our RV. We finally kicked off our biggest Interstate Adventure to date. Is it as awesome as we thought it would be so far? LOL, Hell no. Not even close. Do we regret it? Not a chance in hell.
We checked in to the RV Park and got our rig all set up. Cracked a celebratory beer because we were finally living the dream we had for the last 10 years and started to walk the park and check things out. Things were going great right off the bat. We met our neighbors Corey and Dez and immediately hit it off. They invited us over for dinner and we ended up hanging out with them well into the night on our first day.
They had food cooking on the smoker all day that rivaled some of the best food we had eaten around the country, we had a lot in common and the conversation just kept going. We introduced the dogs so they could play, we traded beers, whiskeys, and jokes about accents from our respective regions all night. Things were going great and then…
No big deal right? Tornado warnings happen all the time. Not here in New Jersey, and this one touched down 10 miles away and was headed right for us.
Luckily for us it broke apart before it made it here, but I can tell you after having been that close, all those things you hear about how the sky looks weird are spot on. I can’t describe it, but trust your gut, if you get the warning on your phone and the sky just don’t look right, find a shelter. Hopefully this isn’t a sign.
Well we made it through the tornado unscathed, and the sun is shining on day 2, now it’s time to get started on this whole camper life thing.
As you may have figured out by the featured image on the article, there are some things that we took into account, but maybe not as fully as we should have. There are some things we hadn’t considered at all that caught us a little off guard, and a few things that we were so prepared for I felt like Hannibal from The A-Team as I lit my cigar.
If I were going to give us a grade on being as prepared for the 2 year adventure as we were for our very first 2 week trip 10 years ago, I would score us at a solid B+.
We started this 2 year trip off at a RV Park that is open year round and only about a half an hour from our former stick built home on purpose. We didn’t just hit the road and figure it out along the way like hippies on our way to Woodstock, even though doing things that way doesn’t bother us at all. Hell, often times it makes the trips a LOT more memorable.
We both decided to “phase out” of normal life instead of just flipping the switch on the way out the door. Loretta and I are both working part time, in more of a consultation and training capacity rather than taking on the full job duties, in order for our replacements to really get their feet under them before they have to take off running.
Our son is also on his first shot at living outside of mom and dads house without the safety net of being able to just come home and have us take care of things for him. Kind of like when your kids go off to college, just without all the partying, drinking, and whatever else kids do at college. No, our son isn’t college bound, he made it through several rounds of interviews and was just welcomed into the ironworkers in South Jersey.
By only being a half hour away he can still stop over whenever he wants, and we usually get together with him and his girlfriend at least twice a week for dinner, which come to think of it, is really about all we saw him when he lived with us. But, on the flip side we are a half an hour away so it promotes a little “figure it out kid”. We are pushing the baby bird out of the nest, but we are still here to help him fly if he gets into trouble.
So, we have made it a grand total of 26 whole miles in one month on the road. Loretta went from “retiring” today, to being part time indefinitely, and I still don’t have an end date for when I’m actually parking my service truck for the last time.
The longer we live in our Perfect RV the more things we find that we wish were set up a little differently. Things we were going to deal with short term, like the lack of closet space compared to a normal home, we are dealing with for a longer term now, which puts things like emptying out the sort it out later cabinet on hold since we haven’t been able to open up closet space like we thought we would because they are still full of work clothes for both of us.
On the plus side however we do have a lot more free time, just as planned. We bought the Montana 381TH as our Forever RV since it had a small garage on the back. A garage we filled with bikes, and kayaks, and all manner of outdoor stuff to be more active with all of this new found free time since we don’t have to coach, or cut grass, or help with school projects etc.
I think we cruised around on our bikes once so far, and we went kayaking once. We are walking the hell out of the dog since we can’t just let her out the back door to run freely through our nice big back yard anymore, which she loves because she gets a cookie after we get back from our walks. On the other side, she was never on a leash before, so for her this is almost like prison. Lagertha (Lag-a-tha, like the Viking shield maiden) is one of those dogs who loves to run. I am one of those fat guys who doesn’t.
In hind sight, we should have made sure there was a dog park. Shame on us, and add that to our list of must haves for future sites. We do have some parks and trails nearby with open fields, and I will admit we let her go when we get there if no one else is around. Yes, we disobeyed the leash rule at the park, all we have to do is whistle and she stops what she’s doing and comes back to get her cookie that she knows is in my pocket.
On our report card I would say that we grossly underestimated how much “dog time” would be required, and overestimated how much “kayak time” we would have. We chose to move into an RV not her, so it wouldn’t be fair to her to just stay cooped up in the camper all day, take a quick walk, then mom and dad leave for hours again. She is part of our family, and for now this is how we are making it work until we are both “home” all day and can allocate more time for us to have fun.
Getting back to the featured image at the top of the article, and tying into the overestimating kayak time, laundry takes forever…
Our RV has a closet with the washer/dryer hookups pre-plumbed, but we opted to make that closet the dogs room since its in the master bedroom. We took the doors off, put her bed in it, perfect! She has her own bedroom and we can just hit the laundromat once a week, no big deal. Every campground we that have done extended stays at has a laundry room on site.
Not this one. The closest laundromat is 15 minutes away. Not horrible, but that’s a half hour added to laundry day. Laundry day isn’t a big deal at home, you throw it in the wash, do something around the house, switch it to the dryer, do some other stuff, BUZZ, done.
There’s nothing to do at the laundromat…
For half an hour…
Then for another hour…
Totally didn’t take this level of mind numbing boredom into consideration when we said screw it we don’t need the washer and dryer. Also didn’t take into consideration how much it would suck to be in said laundromat when the temp is almost 100 with 90% humidity. Its like taking a shower in hell. Definitely should have gotten the washer and dryer.
But now that we have been doing the laundry run for a couple weeks, Lagertha and I make it Dad and Dog day. She jumps in the truck and we go put the laundry in the wash, then we go to McDonalds and each get a bacon, egg and cheese. I Know, I told her salad is a better choice, but Viking…
Then we go switch the clothes to the dryer and head to the park because there are shady spots to park and bathrooms. Most times we are there early in the day on a Friday so there isn’t anyone else at there. We walk the paved trail for a bit, then when we get over by the back field she looks at me and smiles as I unhook her leash.
ZOOOOMMMMM, She gone.
And She’s back, And She’s Gone, And She’s Back.
After three or six laps around the field she tires herself out and comes back for a drink of water, then we walk back to the truck and head back to get the laundry, then back to the capground. Time in the park with your dog is always time well spent, and she got to spend her energy, so she won’t mind relaxing in the AC tonight when mom gets home, so we can go ride our bikes or take the kayaks out.
The down side to this plan is that Dad and Dog day is usually Friday. So when mom gets home from work, everyone else is pulling in too. And just because we live in our RV’s doesn’t mean we don’t hang out with our neighbors.
Next thing ya know we are havin a beer or 3 with Corey and Dez, or Nathan and Alex, and the bikes have another layer of dust on them. A great thing about camper neighbors, is most of us are from different places. We get to talking about food and trading recipes, and here try some of this. It’s a great time and if we could just remember one of the damn recipes we could add it to our cookbook…
Ok, so maybe it was more than 3 beers. Don’t judge me, we’re on vacation. Kind of.
Another thing that I would have to take some points off our report card for would be overestimating the use of our kitchen. Loretta can cook, hence why I don’t do laps with the dog. I stopped coaching football and started needing bigger pants. Like we said in another article the kitchen was Loretta’s hold out. She wanted what she wanted in it because she likes to cook.
We have the residential size fridge, plenty of cabinet space, microwave, double basin sink. The only thing “camper sized” is the oven, but that’s not a big deal since there’s only 2 of us. Well, now that means the cook stone she used in our house doesn’t fit in the mini oven. Missed it by an inch. Yet another trip to the store to pickup some mini sized cookware so we can actually make dinner in the camper.
Out of the 30 days on the road, we have either ate out or used the grill outside for 29 of them. I finally broke in the oven last night because Loretta had a work thing and me and the dog wanted pizza but didn’t feel like driving. We had been cooking outside to keep the heat of the oven from adding to the temperature inside since its been a month of heat waves close to 100.
I will say this, the oven didn’t really add any heat in the camper like when you cook thanksgiving dinner at your house, just a little warmer in the kitchen. Maybe I can finally hang up my BBQ tools.
As far as using the kitchen like we thought we would we definitely scored an F. We haven’t stocked the cabinets like we should have, nor have we really used it for anything but making coffee. I’m sure if we have some foul weather days we will use it more like a kitchen at home, but right now we are still using it like a kitchen in a camper.
We did do pretty decently with keeping the right tools when we sold everything to move into the camper. There have been a few projects around the RV that needed doing like hang a hook there, drill a hole here, build a shelf there, and we haven’t had to go buy any tools. We have also upgraded the toilet and shower head, changed out the water pump for boon docking, and even added a security camera system to the outside of the RV.
Things that require a little work we seem to do fine with, things that require a little relaxing with a plan we need to work on. Part of any good plan is reviewing its progress and making adjustments and clearly our plan is in need of some tweaking. While it may not be going as smoothly as we had hoped we are definitely still enjoying being closer to the freedom of the open road and this stage of the plan was intended for ironing out the kinks.
Every time something seems to go awry on the road, usually right about when I’m ready to blow my top, she reminds me that “It’s and adventure”. Is this as far off track as when we blew the transmission in Oklahoma? Nah. Does it suck as bad as when I almost had to fight a bear in Yellowstone? Nope. The things we need to iron out are minor adjustments and all part of the adventure we are on.
We definitely wouldn’t trade this opportunity for the world and over all the first month on the road has been a lot of fun. We just need to work a little more on time management and making sure we fit in some of the fun stuff we had planned. Now I’m going to get Loretta up so we can take a morning bike ride.
She won’t be mad that I woke her up at 6:00am on a Saturday right? Wish me luck…