- Old Dogs, Old Tricks May 11, 2018
After living in a motorhome for over 2 years (28 months, give or take a few days) we had to re-learn a few things. We spent about a week going in between spaces (the bed took 5 days to get major items ordered and some items to be delivered). It is fun to buy, admittedly. New stuff! More on that later.
You forget despite living in a sticks and bricks for 40+ (grumble, *cough*) years, or take care to re-teach yourself quickly. When we first moved into the rig, for example, our master bed was surrounded by the walls with only one real exit towards the end of the bed (which we furnished with a large ottoman for the dogs to jump up and down as it was HIGH for any dog, particularly if you are a chihuahua mix). When we came back to the sticks and bricks, the bed didn’t have walls up and we felt like we were going to fall out (yes we’ve stayed in hotels for work throughout the years but the bed we chose we very high!).
Piper had to relearn how to get back into and out of the bed as well. Because there weren’t two walls stopping her she tried front and both sides whereas before she went off the front. She was going to get herself killed so we had to go a little ottoman-happy (all three sides of the bed, only the head was spared because that was logistically impossible for her).
We also had to retrain ourselves to trust that we could take a shower and wash clothes at the same time without fearing the shower losing all water and water pressure. Heck, we just run the dishwasher at the same time because we can! And the clothes! We can wash a normal load of clothes without spending hours trying to dry them. We forgot about that.
Trash cannot just be taken to the dumpster when full. That part is annoying. We actually have to keep it until trash day. Oh yeah! Trash day! Forgot about that. Luckily, this place isn’t like our first two places. First two places you had to fit everything to go out in trash bins. While no trash bins should be put out (weird, to us), you can let your freak flag fly and pile everything in one big pile and they’ll pick it up. After moving in we tossed out stuff the owners “generously” left for us and they took it. The only apparent rule they have is recyclables in clear bags. Alrighty then, if you take that really ugly lamp without my bagging it or binning it.
We also have forgotten – perhaps conveniently for us – about the home maintenance. Weeding! Cleaning! More cleaning! Oh yeah. That will take more than the five minutes it took us in the coach. And our supposedly “clean” house may have been cleaner than others we’d seen while touring homes but our bare feet became filthy after a couple of hours. Nope – turns out the old homeowners never actually mopped the place. Since mopping once a week no dirty bare feet! So some things don’t change. You need to clean your home for it to be clean, kids.
There are some new tricks we’ve had to learn though. Day 5 into cleaning, and painting, and installing, we decided to bring Piper in so she could check out the digs. In her fourteen years she’s never been that close to a pool before. After walking around on leash, we decided to take her off-leash. Now mind you, Piper doesn’t do new things. When she does, she would learn from Ally and copy Ally. Ally has been gone for a year (can you believe it?) so this was all new territory for all of us. The result? SPLASH! She fell in. Chris jumped in after her and they both got out sopping wet and freezing. Did we mention it was only 60 degrees out? It was an oddly cold day. We did learn three things though 1) our dog, despite never swimming before, could swim 2) always have towels in the house, even if you have nothing else 3) in case of emergency, you want Chris (not Kim, who screamed when Piper fell in) by your side.
See? You learn something new every day.
- See You Soon March 28, 2018
This has been an incredible four years. Four years ago Chloe and Brendan planted the seed of full timing in an RV in our brains. Three years ago, we sold our house and took the plunge by buying our 2016 Tiffin Bus. We toured the nation, seeing places (and falling love with them), seeing other places (and running as fast as we could away), making friends, making memories.
By the end of year two in full timing, the best way we can describe what we were feeling was malaise. We started getting into a routine of going to Colorado, then Florida, back to Colorado. We’d visited many areas and of everywhere, there were the two places we kept going back to. We thought about buying lots in both but from an investment standpoint, couldn’t justify it. Buying land and developing it for the rig was also not something we wanted to do. From an investment standpoint, we knew that if we were to buy, we’d buy a house. We’d bought two already and we were starting to become experts at it.
When push came to shove, we knew that we wanted a home base. We found ourselves spending a ton of money for campgrounds that were never quite perfect for us. We visited friends at their full time home and found ourselves longing for that and found ourselves looking at homes. Then we found ourselves going to open houses. And then we found a home we fell in love with.
We found ourselves making an offer, having it be accepted and going through the process in thirty days.
One thing we know a lot of people ask when they’re about to full time is “What if I need an exit strategy?” For us, we never really thought about it. We were fortunate enough to have enough disposible income that the exit strategy was relatively painless. We had funds for the downpayment. We got some of our items moved out of storage. Some items came with the house (washer, dryer, refrigerator, living room couch). We went to furniture stores and purchased a master bedroom set, dining set, two desks and kitchen set. Honestly, it was much more easy than we anticipated, most likely due to the fact that we have full time jobs to sustain us through those large costs.
So what’s the next step? This is the last week we’ll be full timing. We will either sell the rig or rent it out (while the latter has tremendous risk, it also allows us to be more mobile when we want to be). We want the ability to travel when we want so keeping the rig that we customized and built for us is important.
Last night we went out to dinner with Chloe and Brendan in a case of going full circle.
On our last day as full timers, we drove an hour to our final destination to place that is gorgeous. It’s an RV resort as well as a equine facility. We overlook fields as we hear horses whinny. We took Piper for a long walk as she smelled all the wonderful smells (from a dog’s perspective). It’s a beautiful sunny and cool day for Florida – 71 degrees – as we played bocce in the side and back of our coach. It was a perfect day with perfect views, perfect surroundings and perfect weather. We both felt a sadness that full timing was over but on the other hand look forward to our next adventure. We lost two family members on this great adventure and as we move on, we’ll think of them. We gained friends on this great adventure and as we move on, we’ll think of them. We visited family members on this great adventure and as we move on, we’ll think of them. We will take the places, the people, the animals, the sights, the food, the everything and take it with us no matter what.
That’s the beauty of this life – it isn’t a matter of “this is how it is”. Instead it’s a matter of “this is how it is…for now”.
Ever fluid, ready to change and pivot is something we’ve enjoyed about this life. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Until the next trip, we’ll be updating with fun house stuff. See you soon!
- Spare Tire On the Back February 16, 2018
It happens. After spending a week in what we thought was an overrated and overpriced park in New Orleans, we happily left a day zcwearly to get to our next destination a day early. Yippee!
Life then happened and then said “Well, not so fast, geeks!” While we were anxious to leave New Orleans, it was on the very infamous I-10, notorious for construction and potholes. We caught a shredded tire on the road, aka “road gators”, with our tow. No, we didn’t have the TPMS system (we have it but the one we bought wasn’t that good) but a kindly stranger really good at mouthing “Your tire is shredded!” from another car. The inevitable result was this beauty.
We had a spare tire but on I-10, didn’t want to change it alone as I-10 doesn’t exactly have a wide breakdown lane. We called trusty Geico for roadside service. Despite telling them where we were, they insisted on doing geolocation and sent the first roadside service. Big mistake, as Geico sent the first servicer to the completely wrong place. The first servicer stated since we were on I-10 they couldn’t come to us. Finally, three hours later, we received the service and were on our way.
It was a bit disconcerting being on the side of I-10 for that long but we managed. We were delayed by three hours and arrived in Gulf Shores 6 hours after departing so it was dark. Luckily we had a pull-through so parking the rig wasn’t tough at all. No life lesson here, only to have a flexible (enough) schedule and identify places to stop along the way if you need. Also? Don’t plan too long of a day. We never plan to go longer than four hours. We’ve done longer (unplanned) as a pleasant surprise rather than planning too long and having to cut the trip shorter than needed. That way there’s no disappointment if you don’t reach your goal. It also cuts yourself some slack. We learned this lesson in our maiden voyage where we planned on going from Pennsylvania to North Carolina in one trip. That’s seven hours via 95, eight hours via 81 (we opted for 81). After encountering torrential rainstorms and seeing at least six accidents, we were forced to stop for the night at Walmart. We underestimated how draining driving the rig was going to be, and in retrospect would’ve planned a halfway stop.