- Views from the Road May 8, 2017
In discussing travel with fellow wanderers, someone said to us “You’re either a lake person or an ocean person.” We don’t exactly agree but get the meaning. There are types of people who find pleasure in seeing rolling fields, or mountains, or oceans, or lakes, or other above any other. We aren’t tied to one over another, although admit that seeing 200 miles of farmland and nothing else can get boring (because we aren’t farm people). There are people who feel that “views” only equate to one type of view (ocean people seem to think that ocean views are the only thing worth seeing, for example).
When trying to figure out our route from California to Oregon, we asked people which route to take and almost 100% said to take Route 101 due to the views (versus I-5) despite all the road closures that were going on. While we are positive that Route 101 is lovely, it is extremely tight for a 45 Class A plus tow vehicle. In addition, it turns out that there were portions of 101 that were completely closed due to mudslides and some weight restrictions on vehicles (over 9000 pounds, of which we are very much over). We’re very much into views, mind you, but “mudslide views” is something we’d like to avoid as well as “detour into a small town” views because our rig is too heavy. Some tried to state how the route was beautiful but admitted they hadn’t been on it in a few years (well before the rains that hit the west coast) and how they had a 24′ travel trailer. This is a bit different than a 45′ class A plus tow. Others stated that professional truckers do the route all the time so it must be fine. Dare we emphasize the word professional?
In driving I-5, we found the views to be beautiful. There wasn’t an ocean, granted, but the mountain views (along with the interesting weather of rain/snow above those mountains) kept things interesting. The route itself had no issues. Safe and scenic. This is a “trust your gut” moment. There are people who are willing to risk your rig for what they feel is a greater reward. And yes, sometimes they’re right. And perhaps if we were retired, had an infinite amount of time, could take 12 hours to go the length of what a regular two hour drive would take us, maybe. But we have pets to consider, and a expensive rig to not ruin, and places to reach eventually, so while we’d love to throw caution to the wind, it will be for another day.
One thing that has become our mantra has been “trust your gut”. Trust your gut with the drive. If you hear conflict with something about your rig (whether it be the safety of the drive, the navigation, things to do), trust your gut. No one would knowingly (hopefully) put you in harm’s way but they are thinking about it from their perspective. Only you know your own perspective, your rig and your comfortability with what lays ahead.
For the record, we seem to be mountain/water/grass/hills/cool weather people. Luckily there’s a lot of those on the road!
- The RVing You’ll Do! May 4, 2017
You, way to go!
You bought an RV.
You’re off on adventures!
So much to see!
You now have a big rig.
You have it mapped out.
You can now have fun
that’s what it’s about.
You’ve bought your stuff via Amazon Prime
and YOU are the folks who are prepared for this time.
You’ll review Waze, Google, and RV Park Reviews.
And then plan your routes you’re set to cruise.
With your head full of maps and your rig full of stuff,
you’re now ready to glamp and gloat that life’s “rough”!
You! The RVing you’ll do!
Except when you can’t embark.
Because, sometimes, you need to park.
Apologies, my friend
Stuff happens to you.
or the health scares
It’s sad but it’s true.
You can bump a pole
at the gas place
And your plans will stay still
You’ll slow down your pace.
You will scold yourself
You will want to quit.
Other campers will help you
Saying “Hey, we’ve all done it”.
You’ll get the bump fixed up
With an nasty invoice
You will feel uneasy about driving
But you will have no choice.
Somehow you’ll leave
after that money and waiting
You’ll find amazing people and sites
Where campfires are awaiting!
You! The RVing you’ll do!
There are parties that are hearty!
There are great places you can go with that rig
You will go to campsites that are gorgeous
Where you won’t be too big.
Reviews! They’ll say what’s up and sites will be enormous.
They’ll be awesome, ya dig?
Except when they are yucky
Because sometimes you’re unlucky.
Sometimes the websites lie
Just to get you to buy
The reviews are kind of subjective
Each camper has their own objective.
You’ll move on to the next place
Glad you didn’t prepay.
Finding your next home base
Next time not so easy to sway.
On you’ll go – down roads,
Through the rain and sleet
And face the weather
And low bridges to meet.
Navigation will lie, of course,
as you probably know.
You’ll get turned around
RV-unfriendly routes as you go.
Get a trucker app
Drive and mind the gap
and remember that with much ground
you can always turn around.
You’re big, people will stop for you.
Take your time, breathe, and phew!
After all is said and done, will you have fun?
Yes! It’ll be second to none!
Except when a pet is under the weather
But you’re in this together.
You find a vet to help you cope
Based on their condition, they give you no hope.
One is a miracle pet, the other succumbed,
Together you hold each other up.
You join hands and paws, with feelings that are numbed.
And be happy with the time you have together, people, cats and pups.
When you go uphill
and the rig is doing everything but hurry
Know that loose wires on the transmission
Can cause quite a flurry.
Just pull off the exit
take a break, restart.
Get over that 8% grade
And know keeping calm is an art.
There are places to see, people to visit
If you don’t stop to look around once in a while you might miss it.
Ferris Bueller said that, wise guy he was.
Quick stops, long stops, everything in between.
Seeing family and friends because
They reinforce why you do this, they’re part of the scene.
Yay! Go you!
You bought an RV.
You’re off on adventures!
So much to see!
Apologies and thanks both goes to our inspiration, Dr. Seuss’ “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” explained here.
- Let’s Get Physical May 1, 2017
After over a year on the road full-time and working full-time, even after spending time outdoors, you’ll find that your body could be in a rut. Many campgrounds don’t have gyms, or they do have them but with nominal and/or non-working equipment. When it’s nice out, yay! You can bike, hike, walk, play tennis, run, all outdoors. But if you hit monsoon season, or if you’re in the Pacific Northwest where it rains often (um, every single day), or are in a place colder than you want, you want to find something to do indoors. Outdoor tennis courts run by town parks can be iffy. The last outdoor tennis courts we tried were full of cracks and weeds.
It took us a while to figure it out, which makes no sense because the solution seems SO.SIMPLE. In smaller cities and larger towns, there are always gyms that require you to join. This wouldn’t work for people who are on the road. We didn’t want to shell out bucks for a YMCA as then you are required to find and go to a YMCA. There are national gyms where locations seem pretty vast, but then you realize they expect you to travel 45 minutes just to do 30 minutes on the treadmill. Neither solution worked. But many independent gyms will offer a day pass, a trial week pass or even a monthly pass for one rate.
We opted to start doing this. We didn’t do it right the first time. We found a great gym in the Vegas area (Lifetime Fitness), went in and signed up. The consultant (Kathy) convinced us to go month-to-month with cancellation at any time. We told her our situation and explained we needed it to be flexible. She stated that there were tons of Lifetime locations through the west coast. She also stated we could put our membership on hold if we wanted. This was fine for a bit. They had amazing indoor tennis courts (the real reason we joined, as Vegas is COLD in the winter) and we enjoyed the tennis while we were there.
When it came time to put our notice in for a hold, we were promptly told that we needed to provide 30 days notice (this was never mentioned). When we researched locations, they were easily 75 miles away from where we were staying (including major cities like San Francisco were excluded). Also, to put a membership on hold there would be a fee, and it could only be put on hold for a very short time. We opted to cancel our membership outright and complain to management. Then (and only then) were we told we could have also purchased a monthly membership without all these strings. We were shocked about how badly we were misled. Lesson learned: if you want something shorter-term, ask for it and ask to see ALL the plans available, even if not initially offered.
Most recently we checked gyms in our area and we were lucky – not only did we find a join that had a weekly pass for the nominal fee of $16 each but they also had nice indoor tennis courts. Thornbeckes has three locations and the fees are ridiculously affordable. Because of the weather we’d been having, though, remembering how to play tennis was a problem.