Archive for the ‘The RV Life’ Category

The RV Life: Our first move

December 5, 2014

The true story…

… of one thirty-something couple (and their pets)…

… choosing to live in an RV…

…travel the country together and have their lives blogged about…

…to find out what happens when people stop being polite…

… and start living in an RV.

We only had our rig for about two weeks before we had to face our first move. Usually, moving between cities on the tour that I’m on means a couple hours of packing all my crap into luggage and/or large tupperware bins and cramming it all into my Prius, Tetris-style.

Now, packing means going to my last show of the week while my amazing boyfriend readies our housecar for the road. This (apparently) includes, but is not limited to:

1. Flushing out the system in the rig, and then unplugging the electricity, water, and black water from the hookups on the camp site.

2. Pulling in both of our slide-outs into the rig.

3. Securing all loose items that we take out to live our daily lives. (I.E. the sponge and dish soap from the kitchen sink, the toothbrushes and toothpaste from beside the bathroom sink, all of the shampoo bottles from the shower, books by the bedside, picture frames on tables… all these things to into drawers or cabinets.)

4. Zip-tieing cabinet and drawer doors closed. Most stay pretty securely closed as we move due to the catch that is built in during construction, but a few are loose. To mitigate the amount of dish ware potentially flying around during transit, we tie most of the doors closed.

5. Bringing in our bikes. (This makes it super crowded, but until we figure a way to secure them to the back of the car we are towing, it’s the way it’s gotta be.)

6. Gassing up, so that when I came back from work, we were ready to go!

All of this took around 45 minutes, he says, and was easy as pie. I came home to a packed up housecar, two only slightly anxious pets (Mikko digs at the slide-ins as they move and Copeland enjoyed finding a new hiding place on top of the slide-ins once they were inside.) and a very proud boyfriend. (And rightfully so! He does so much and makes my life- especially on moving day, exponentially easier)

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Copeland in his new hiding place- on top of our bedroom slide out.

We first drove to Cincinnati from Columbus to pick up my friend’s tow dolly that he was giving to us. He had used it 10 years ago and had no need for it so he said if we could pick it up it was ours. We made it into town as the sun was setting and his brother set us up with the trailer and we rolled on down the road, towing our Prius behind our housecar, happy as can be….

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Our route

… for about eight hours.

Then, as I napped in the ‘living room,’ Phillip glanced in the rear-facing backup camera that runs while we drive and said “Um… somethings’ wrong…. there’s sparks coming from the car.”

We pulled over to find this:

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Boom.

A blown tire and twisted, hot metal. The trailer was done for, and for the moment, so were we.

We cut our tire straps to roll the car off the trailer (in theory) and forgot all about the safety chains attached underneath the car to the trailer. (D’oh!) The weight of the car was keeping these chains too taught, and after an hour of trying to jack the car up, push it, pull it, and otherwise beg it to move up to release the chains, we were still on the side of the road.

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The struggle was real.

I called AAA and was told that the problem we were experiencing was not covered in our roadside package. (“But my car is literally immobile! This is the definition of a roadside emergency!” I wailed, to no avail.) We agreed to pay the full amount for a tow truck to come out to us and went into our house to take a nap while we waited, as it was fast approaching dawn.

This was one of the nicer parts of our dilemma- we had our HOME to wait in, on the side of the road. I made a snack and sat at the dinner table for a bit, reading a book like nothing was going on. Suddenly, Phillip sat straight up in bed. “I know what to do.” he proclaimed, walking back outside.

As he was drifting off to a frustrated sleep, he explained later, he thought about how this tow truck would show up and point out something so obvious and easy that it would leave him infuriated for such a simple oversight.

What he had realized, in his half sleep, was we had undone the car in the wrong order. We should have undone the safety chains first, then the tire straps. So all we had to do was put the tire straps back on, crank them tight once more, and the chains should slip right off.

And sure enough, they did.

((My hero.))

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Ta daaaa!

I took the helm of the Prius and Phillip drove our house to a rest stop, where we parked for the night and slept off our slight trauma. The next morning, we drove both cars, caravan style to Milwaukee without incident.

But we still need a new tow dolly.

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The RV Life: It’s heeeeere!!!

November 9, 2014

How’s this for a sitcom set up: A guy is stuck in a Holiday Inn in New Hampshire for a few days waiting for his girlfriend’s RV to be fixed, and then driving for 15 hours (halfway across the country) to her….. all with her professorial father.

Who he doesn’t know very well.

Hilarious, if you ask me.

But that’s exactly how it went down.

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My mens with beards

Apparently, my dad was planning on surprising me and helping Phillip drive the rig from New Hampshire to Ohio. (He’s sweet like that) I found out the surprise when the rig ended up being as overdue as a stubborn baby. (I also felt cranky at it’s lateness, as I’ve heard many an expectant mother lamenting in the same way.)

Phillip hasn’t gotten a lot of face-time in with my dad in our year of dating, so I was worried about how he would feel about a one-on-one with my dad that ended up stretching into days upon days of quality time.

Thankfully, both men involved in this scenario are extremely laid back individuals, so when they turned up a few days late on my motels doorstep, they were both happy, a little tired, and thoroughly bonded. Dad seems to be happy with my current choice of living partner, and Phillip has spent every subsequent day bringing up some funny story my dad told him, or something quirky that he loves about my dad’s personality, or something that he learned from one of dad’s lengthy, yet fascinating stories. So whatever happened in the intervening days, it went well, to say the least.

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Home sweet home!

Dad had to turn right around and fly away, unfortunately, so he only got to spend one night in the rig on the pull out couch. (A full queen!) He said it was comfy enough, which is good news since I’m hoping he makes a return trip soon!

We moved the rig to our campsite in Jackson Lake Park, about 30 minutes south of Columbus, and set everything up. Phillip plugged us in with water, electric, and sewage (yuck) and I unpacked and organized over a three day period. Transitioning from living out of your suitcase and into a housecar requires some organizational tricks I didn’t anticipate. For example, I used to just shove all of my toiletries in a tupperware and take things out as I needed them. Now, with my newly acquired shelf space, I had need to get small, shallow organizing boxes to sort everything out.

And thus, my love of all things house-organizing began.

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TJ Maxx and Target didn’t know what it ’em….

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Let the nesting begin…

I had some old collapsable shelves that I used to cram into a suitcase to move from city to city and, as they are not built for multiple removals and re-hangings, they were falling apart. So we replaced them with a new set, and I was relieved to find that all of my clothes and shoes fit nicely in my closet, leaving the rest of the drawers in the bedroom for Phillip’s clothes. (His only take up about a cabinet and a half. My, it’s easy to be a boy sometimes…)

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<– Before and After! –>

We began the redecorating process slowly, with the easy stuff first- a few throw rugs, a new separator curtain for the bedroom/bathroom, and a new comforter, although that may change as the bedroom develops. (I think the pattern is a bit too busy for a bedroom. I’m now thinking I need something a bit more serene, and may make that comforter into a few throw pillows for the living room!)

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<– Before and After –>

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<– New curtain to separate the bedroom and bathroom. Fun fact #1- It’s actually a shower curtain! Fun Fact #2 – The tie was from the comforter packaging! –>

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Copeland, being as helpful as ever

We bought our first piece of original art for the housecar at the Columbus ComicCon, a sweet sleeping bunny for our future serene bedroom.

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Soft bunny, warm bunny, little ball of fur…

That lovely piece of art that came with the RV is somehow stuck to the wall, so we are figuring out how to remove the offending piece of art and replace it with something less… geriatric-ly generic.

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A Thomas Kinkade, no doubt…

Meanwhile, I’m still gathering ideas for the BIG redecorating projects- the drapes, the couch covers, and the new wall colors- any suggestions?

The RV Life: The Waiting Game

October 22, 2014

The true story…

… of one thirty-something couple (and their pets)…

… choosing to live in an RV…

…travel the country together and have their lives blogged about…

…to find out what happens when people stop being polite…

… and start living in an RV.

With two weeks of repairs facing us before we could live in our new (used) rig, we had a few options.

Option 1: Pass on this rig and find another one in another state. We didn’t like this option because, well… we liked this rig. And it was taken immaculate care of, and the price was right. So we passed on passing.

Option 2: Pay the asking price of $32,600 to the dealer, then take it up the street for another $2,000 worth of repairs, but have it done in three days time. This also wouldn’t be guaranteed, and put us outside of our budget, so we passed on passing the rig on to another mechanic.

Option 3: Figure out a way for Phillip to come back to New Hampshire and pick up the rig when it was done and drive it to me. In the meantime, I would have to get a hotel room in Columbus for me and the furry babies while we waited for the house car to be ready. This seemed like the most logical option, so we planned for Phillip to drive us to Columbus, fly to Orlando to visit friends and family for the week, and then fly back to New Hampshire to pick up the rig and drive it 12 hours to us.

We signed papers, shook hands, sealed the deal, and then drove halfway across the country to wait for the repairs to be finished.

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Signing myself into a new house car! (And into a little bit of debt…)

The drive was smooth, easy, and beautiful, decorated in red and orange hues of fall leaves. Our kids travel extremely well, mostly sleeping (Mikko) or acting as a bobble-head on the dash (Copeland) for the entire ride.

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Mikko loves to squish in between us to sleep, and Copeland keeps a watchful eye to make sure the driver stays alert during these long hauls.

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The route that Phillip will be driving twice…

I settled into my glamorous accommodations at the Extended Stay America in Columbus, Ohio and proceeded to live through what felt like the longest week of my entire life. Waiting to start a new chapter of living in a house car full time, combined with the lack of my best friend/personal chef/boyfriend made time pass like cold molasses. I swear, it has felt like six months since I signed those papers and started counting down the days.

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We’re all bored here without Phillip…

The day before I expected my RV rig to roll in, I got a call from the dealer saying that the leak in the windshield turned out to be more serious than expected, in that the glass itself is separating from the cab, and the repairs were going to take longer than expected.

I’m sorry, what?!?!?!??!!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I absolutely lost it. I was sending my boyfriend on an airplane to New Hampshire in less than 24 hours with no backup plan as to where he would stay if the rig wasn’t ready. I was going to be checking out of my hotel in 48 hours in anticipation of having a housecar to move into. I was wishing I had chosen to take the rig to Kenny, who had originally promised it ready to go in three days… but I found that particular wish to be just a waste of energy, so I went back to bargaining with the dealership to at least put Phillip up in a nice hotel for the night. They did, and also promised to have the rig ready by Wednesday. Apparently the service person in charge of our repairs had called out sick for two days last week… “You know how it goes,” the sales manager reassured me.

No, sir. I’m sure I don’t….

So now, it’s Tuesday night, on the eve of my life chaining in a very drastic way. My nomadic ways are going to continue, but the monthly rituals of scouring the internet for housing, repacking up my life, loading up my car, unloading my car in a new city, moving into a new house, and unpacking all over again are officially over. I don’t think it’s really fully hit me yet. Everyone asks if I’m excited and to be honest, I can’t say that I am quite yet. I think I’m not letting myself get too worked up since this week is already dragging by at the pace of a sleepy snail. But if my activity on Pintrist is any indication, I’m very, very excited for this next chapter to get started.

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I’m a bonafide RV-renovation-pinning fool.

Let’s just hope the repairs actually get done tomorrow and no one gets the sniffles between here and there…

The RV World: “So… did you buy it?”

October 16, 2014

The true story…

… of one thirty-something couple (and their pets)…

… choosing to live in an RV…

…travel the country together and have their lives blogged about…

…to find out what happens when people stop being polite…

… and start living in an RV.

When last we heard from our intrepid adventurers, they were on the precipice of buying a new (used) RV from a friendly New Hampshire salesman by the name of George.

We loved the layout (an open floor plan with two slide outs- one in the living room and one in the bedroom), loved the immaculate nature of the interior (the previous owners clearly loved this beast) but wasn’t crazy about the price. (Original asking price: $39,999. Ouch)

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Sorry, only picture I have right now of the interior. More to come, I promise!!

Our budget was around $30,000, so we sat in the house car, fantasizing about owning it, and contemplating our options. We figured the worst they could do was say no to a significant discount, so George marched us into the financing office to do battle with the sales manager.

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(Image courtesy of Campers Inn)

We sat down, furiously googling facts and figures about the NADA value of a 2003 Jayco Firenza, and were interrupted by the sales manager immediately dropping the price by $5,500.

Well. That wasn’t hard.

We thanked him, wondering why the discount sprang upon us so quickly, and he explained that he was going to be aggressive with us to try to get us to take the rig because winter is coming quickly upon the Northeast, and snow scares away all but the craziest of RV shoppers. (Read: us) So we would probably be one of the last sales of the season, meaning it put us squarely in the drivers seat. (Pun fully intended. You’re welcome.)

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Apparently this is as frightening to RV dealers as it is to the enemies of the Stark family. (Image courtesy of Animg.com)

Armed with a newfound confidence of being included the ever-coveted buyers market, we asked to drive the rig down to a local mechanic and RV repairman to have it fully checked out before agreeing to anything. I did the same when I bought my used Prius and since this is a houseCAR, I thought it only logical to the same. George was slightly surprised, but pleased with us. He said that most buyers don’t take this extra step to make sure their investment was sound, and not only allowed it, but went the extra mile to drive it down to the mechanic for us.

Great guy, our man George.

Kenny, the local mechanic who had 32 years of experience with RV’s, quickly checked her out from front to back, top to bottom, and reported back that she was in pretty fair condition for an 11 year old rig. The usual repairs not withstanding, I was getting a pretty good deal for a gently used behemoth that was taken extremely good care of. The things he found would have run me around $2,000 for him to fix, and armed with that knowledge, I went back to Campers Inn of Kingston where our friend George was awaiting our decision, and told him we would take it… dependent on all of these repairs being made and another discount. (A buyers market made me heady with power, so I went for it.)

And he said….. you got it.

The final price was knocked down to $32,600 from $39,999. Win!!

But… there was a catch.

(There’s always a catch.)

The repairs wouldn’t be completed for two weeks.

And we were slated to leave town at the end of the week.

(Not-a-win….)

Photos:

Interior of RV: Mine!

Camper’s Inn banner: http://www.campersinn.com/kingston/

Game of Thrones wallpaper: http://animg.com/download/game-of-thrones-wallpaper-winter-is-coming-background-1-hd-wallpapers.htm

The RV World: Shop ’till you drop

October 4, 2014

The true story…

… of one thirty-something couple (and their pets)…

… choosing to live in an RV…

…travel the country together and have their lives blogged about…

…to find out what happens when people stop being polite…

… and start living in an RV.

Shopping for an RV has been an interesting experience, to say the least.

First of all, the learning curve has been steep. Researching about all the ins and (slide)outs of the different rigs, figuring out what model will best fit our needs, and reading endless “Shopping for Used RV’s” tip pages has taken up most of my free time.

Turns out, shopping for an RV has all of the pitfalls of shopping for a car AND a home, all rolled into one.

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A “Hunt House Car.” Yep. A real thing. From 1937!!  Check out the story here! (Image Source

Has this housecar been in any accidents?

Does this housecar’s roof leak?

Does this housecar need new tires or brakes?

Does this housecar need a new gas/electrical/propane/water system?

Does this housecar’s interior resemble the set of the Golden Girls?

Not exactly the two for one deal one would want.

Then, armed with my various checklists and how-to-inspect tips, we march into a RV dealership to the most incredulous looks on the sales person’s face ever.

I swear, silently, they are saying “What are these two kids doing in here?” with their faces. “Are they lost? Where are the retired parents they are chauffeuring around to shop for RV’s?”

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Apparently we don’t fit in at the local senior center. (Image Source)

Most sales people have been pretty dismissive of us, even as I rattle off (what I think are) impressive RV vocabulary words- “We are looking for a minimum 34 ft Class A gas rig with at least one slide out and preferably a V-10 Vortec or Workhorse engine or the like, as we will be towing our car as well.”

The sales people usually rush us about the lot, letting us duck into a few used RV’s that don’t really fit our needs, or are well outside of our budget. I guess they assume a couple in their early 30’s couldn’t possibly be serious about living full time in a housecar like our travel-happy, elderly counterparts.

That is until we met George.

George was the sales person at Camper’s Inn in Kingston, NH. He was extremely cordial throughout our visit, taking time with us in each of the four rigs he took us inside, researching the questions he had about the few we became interested in, and then even coming in later that week on his day off when we wanted to inspect a particular RV.

In short, George has single handedly saved this shopping experience for us, proving once and for all that we can, and probably should be take seriously by these other sales guys.

Because are now finding ourselves in the final inspection stages of one of those rigs that George patiently showed us …

((Will Selena and Phillip be the proud owners of a brand new ((used)) house car by this time next week? Or will they have to endure other snooty RV salesmen and be reduced to dressing up as a senior citizens to get preferable treatment? Stay tuned to find out!!))

Photos:

House Car: http://www.doityourselfrv.com/1937-hunt-house-car/

Me and Phil: http://www.instagram.com/selenamoshell

The RV World: “I’m not sure this is a good idea, Selena…”

October 1, 2014

The true story…

… of one thirty-something couple (and their pets)…

… choosing to live in an RV…

…travel the country together and have their lives blogged about…

…to find out what happens when people stop being polite…

… and start living in an RV.

Usually, doubts about big decisions plague me. For example, buying my Prius four years ago was the longest, most drawn out process in the world…. for everyone around me. I talked to every family member and friend I could, going over every angle of every outcome possible to owning every other model of car when, in my heart of bleeding hearts, my environmental-studies-degree-bearing ass just knew that I wanted, no… needed the Prius.

Fast forward four years, and now I find myself contemplating a much bigger purchase of a housecar (or an RV, if you like) and I find the lack of doubt in the decision to purchase a gigantic car with a home glued to the top almost bizarre. The calm surrounding the decision that has taken me into the eye of the storm of used-RV shopping and loan applications is absolutely serene. I just know that this decision will, ultimately, simplify my life in so many ways.

Some of my peers, however, don’t share that view.

 Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 8.09.23 PMThanks B. Franklin. (Image Source)

“I don’t think you should buy an RV, Selena.”

“Have you really thought this through?”

“It’s a big decision…”

“Can you even afford it, really?”

“I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

*a silently raised eyebrow…*

All of this commentary is honestly coming from a good place. Everyone who has expressed their concerns truly does love me, have been friends with me for years, and always has had my best interest at heart.  And I realize that from their point of view, some of my choices (read: diet, choice of relationships, clothing color combos, etc.) in the past have been questionable. They’ve all seen me get majorly hurt, and don’t want to see me go through that again. I get that. And sure- we’re in the usual demographic that buys RV’s, by about 30 or 40 years. (You should see the looks we get in the dealerships.)  I get that too. But let’s look at another ‘questionable’ life decision that, though it has been difficult at times, I’ve not regretted for one day in my life.

 Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 6.24.47 PMThat face. (That story.)

Adopting a pit bull while living on the road is, from an outside perspective, insane. They’re energetic, strong, and require a huge amount of attention and training to produce a balanced pup. And Mikko, my puppy, has lived up to every imaginable inconvenience you could imagine. From house training, to puppy kindergarden, to hiring private trainers to continue his education on the road, life with Mikko hasn’t been deemed ‘easy’ by any means.

But what he brings to my life- unconditional love, a warm cuddle buddy, physical protection as I traveled the world a single, young lady, and the beautiful intangibles that no dog owner can put into words… they outweigh any ‘accident’ in the house, any anti-barking training sessions, any doubting looks I get from my friends for bringing this little monster on the road with me. I had no doubt in my mind as I picked up this little guy the day before he was going to be put to sleep by the shelter. I saved his life and, in turn, he’s saved mine.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 6.30.26 PMCheeseball dog owner quote/picture here

The same will go, it seems (and I hope) for the RV. Yes, it’s a financial risk. Yes, it’s unorthodox. Yes, it’s strange. But it’s also going to be a financial boon for me. My Good Sam’s 4.7% APR loan weighed against my average 7% return on my cash investments will save money over the long haul, insists my financial guy.

Also, it will be an emotional load off my shoulders. I just about lose my mind trying to find a reasonably priced short-term rental for my menagerie of furry children and not-as-furry boyfriend every month. And when I do, it’s usually upwards of $1500 per month! Compare that to my low interest payment on the RV, plus insurance and camp ground rental, and I’ll be saving at least $700 every month!

Finally, it will be a physical load off my shoulders in that I won’t have to pack my life up, lug it in and out of my car, and unpack every month. Everything will finally have it’s place, and I’ll only move it out again when we turn the RV over to my mom and dad to enjoy in their retirement. (Which is the plan as of right now. Dad and I have talked about him and/or I owning an RV since our Great Western Vacation in a rented Class C 15 years ago. So it only seems right that they inherit my house car when I’m done with it!)

As for my family- Mikko thoroughly enjoyed all the outside time he got on his 20 ft cable tied to the picnic table, Copeland loved watching all the birds flit around the campground from his window perch, and Phillip insists that he will resume his newest hobby of growing a massive beard and whittling his own chess set.

(Somehow the RV has brought out the mountain man we never knew was there in my man. And I’m not complaining about it.)

 
Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 6.37.23 PMMountain man and mountain lion. (Instalife)

So for the nay-sayers, I appreciate the concern. I really do. I even share some of the trepidation- the unknowns, the changes… it’s scary. But I truly feel like the RV lifestyle will make me happy, and I know that’s what all of my friends who doubt the plan really want for me in the end.

My heart is set, the research is done, and I can’t find a hint of serious doubt anywhere in my being.

Let’s do this.

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Yes. Lets. (Image Source)

Photos:

Ben Franklin Quote: http://quoteseverlasting.com/quotations/2013/01/03/600/when-in-doubt-dont/

Let’s do this: http://startupbros.com/input-deprivation-week-forcing-action-by-killing-information-addictions/#/

All others: me!

The RV World, A Recap…

September 21, 2014

The true story…

… of one thirty-something couple (and their pets)…

… choosing to live in an RV…

…travel the country together and have their lives blogged about…

…to find out what happens when people stop being polite…

… and start living in an RV.

The Post-RV Life – A Recap of our Three Weeks…

A few days before we had to return our little home on wheels, I turned to Phillip and actually said the words “I don’t want to move out.”

Somehow, against all the odds, I had grown attached to our little 80 square feet of (mobile) home. I had gotten used to quick, hot showers in the rig; I looked forward to sitting at the picnic table for breakfast; I loved coming home to a roaring campfire and the promise of a hot dog and s’mores dinner with my little family.

And it seemed I wasn’t the only one preemptively nostalgic for our RV Life. Phillip immediately concurred with my sentiment, and I wondered how our dog would adjust to not getting to play outside on a 20 ft. lead tied to our picnic table every day.

But it’s easy to be attached to your current living situation, whatever it may be. It’s comfortable, known, routine… how would we feel a few weeks away from our RV experience looking back?

Now that we’ve returned to brick and mortar living here in our next city on tour, (Boston!) I can honestly say there’s still a huge part of me that misses that little thing. Yes, I do enjoy my 20 minute hot showers, the glamorous 900 square feet of room, and big screen tv with Roku setup…. But I am beginning to think that this apartment-life just isn’t for me anymore.

I’ve had a taste of the RV Life, and I’m not sure I’m the same anymore.

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 Mikko, I’ve a feeling we’re not in the KOA anymore….

Pros

(The actual Pros of our time in the RV in Montreal, not the imagined Pros, which include, but aren’t limited to: Never having to unpack, look for housing, or throw out and buy condiments when we switch cities ever again…)

  • Outside time. Meals on the picnic table, the dog being able to lay about under the tree, communing with nature like we never get to in a city.
  • Nature trails. Running with the dog in the morning was never a chore.
  • Still a novelty, and satisfying to Phillip in a way I, as a man, will seemingly never understand. (I think it goes along the lines of “Me. Man. Make. Fire. *grunt*”)
  • I am not exaggerating when I say that we were completely surrounded by cornfields. While this did make our viewing of Children of the Corn in our last city completely well timed and a little unsettling at night, it also made for a lovely neighborhood noise level.
  • No crate for the dog. We crate train our dog so that when we are gone he has a safe place to rest- safe for him, and safe for our security deposit. In the RV, there was no room for the crate, so he got to run free the whole time, making us feel better about taking a few extra hours in the city.
  • Fresh air. No smog. No sirens. No gunshots. No motorcycle engines roaring through the night. Just the fresh, country air.

Cons

(I actually feel that most of these will resolve themselves if we buy our own RV, and even if they don’t, it’s honestly all things i can deal with…)

  • Drive time. We were about 30 minutes from the city, and any RV park we find won’t be downtown, we’re assuming. So the commute is definitely extended.
  • Short showers. This is only a semi-con. I should probably take shorter showers in life anyway.
  • Small living space. This should also be a semi-con. I got used to it pretty quick, honestly, and we are (mostly) a family of cuddlers anyway. (Copeland doesn’t know the meaning of the word.)
  • The bed. Was. HORRIBLE. But it’s a rental, and not meant for long term living. We certainly would get a better mattress in our own rig.
  • WI-FI. We used the KOA’s signal, which was waning and weak, at best. But we pre-downloaded the second season of The Wire (which we are almost done with, no spoilers!) and made do with what we had.

 

And so, armed with this experience of three weeks in a 30ft C-Class, we are proceeding with caution towards owning our own RV sometime before the New Year.

Now, the search begins…..

The RV World, Week 3

September 14, 2014

The true story…

… of one thirty-something couple (and their pets)…

… choosing to live in an RV…

…travel the country together and have their lives blogged about…

…to find out what happens when people stop being polite…

… and start living in an RV.

The RV World – Day 16

When living in an essentially enclosed system, you become hyper aware of things you never knew about yourself before. For example, do you know how much water you use in any given day? Well, thanks to this experience, I do.

We use about a full tank of grey water every three days. (That’s 38 gallons, fyi.) I know this because a little sensor in the kitchen area turns red when it’s full, at which point Phillip has to go outside and pull a plug to drain it. I haven’t braved this chore yet… so it’s still a mysterious and innately Phillip thing to do.

So that’s about 6 gallons per person, per day. And honestly, since we have a 6 gallon hot water tank, and we each take about one shower per day (sometimes more…), plus some water for dishes and brushing teeth it makes total sense.

Oh, and yes, we have graduated from taking showers in the communal showers to shorter, but just as warm, showers in the rig.

So now the question of whether we are going to get one permanently comes down to how much I will miss my 20 minute luxurious showers in ‘normal’ apartments…. who knew life decisions hung on such seemingly small considerations?

The RV Life – Day 20

Our most exciting adventure took place the last night in the rig. We got a call after the show from Brett and Joe, our neighbors two rigs down who are also crew members in the show with me. I was out on the town with friends, since it was our last chance before leaving Montreal for more American waters. I picked up the phone to a worried Joe. “Your hazards are blinking,” he reported. “But It’s ok, Brett reached in and turned them off.”

“But now the dog is going berzerk.”

Apparently one of our kids had hit the four-way lights, sending them blinking into the night, and right into our neighbors windows for at least a few hours. Lovely.

When Brett and Joe pulled into the park, they saw the blinking, but didn’t know whose rig it was. Hoping silently and incorrectly that it wasn’t mine, they checked and, sure enough, it was ours. So Brett used his go-go-gadget arms to reach in the unlocked drivers side door to turn them off, and set off our furry little house alarm.

Persistent little fellow that he is, he didn’t stop barking for at least an hour, until my face popped up in the drivers side window to shhhhh him into silence.

So the good news is that our house has a built in alarm. The bad news is that he’s annoying not only to potential burglars, but also to everyone else as well.

And also, we need to build a cover for all of the lights if we get a rig full time. Our kids apparently like to throw late night raves for themselves…. sigh.

The RV World- Week Two

September 4, 2014

The true story…

… of one thirty-something couple (and their pets)…

… choosing to live in an RV…

…travel the country together and have their lives blogged about…

…to find out what happens when people stop being polite…

… and start living in an RV.

 

The RV World – Day 8

 

Our pets seem to be adapting to life in a box well.

 

Well…. as well as a 70 lbs pit bull and slightly-insane bengal cat can.

 

Meaning that our cat has explored every last cabinet, nook, cranny, and air vent on the rig in the hopes of finding an escape route. (The cat is a regular Houdini, I swear.)

 

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“Yes. This will do nicely for my evil lair…”

He’s only escaped a few times, though, and after his third breakout attempt, I clipped his harness and leash on him and took him around the campground. I quickly learned that he really isn’t interested in escaping as much as eating grass.

So, turns out, instead of a tiny wildcat, he’s just a furry cow.

Mikko, on the other hand, is taking to RV life like a pro.

He’s just about two years old and we don’t usually trust him outside of his crate when we aren’t at home in our rental apartments around the country. But there just isn’t enough space in the RV’s walkway for his crate. So he’s thoroughly enjoying his newfound freedom when we leave the RV.

As far as we can tell, he busies himself with napping exclusively on our bed.

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“This is my bed. Sometimes my humans try to sleep here too…. but it’s really just mine.”

For the first week, the kids spent most of their time in the front cab of the car. We are in a 30′ Class C, which means it has a Ford van cab in the front.

When we first moved in, the kids explored the rig with their usual curiosity, but when they saw the drivers cab, they stationed themselves up there often, expecting to take off at any moment. After all, they spend a lot of the year driving around the country with me in my Prius, which has a dashboard and two seats, just like the Ford cab.

So when they recognized the layout, they took their usual positions of cat-on-dash-with-dog-in-seat and kept looking at us expectantly, waiting to drive this weird house/car to our next city.

When Phillip and I do drive away in our Prius to go to work or explore Montreal, they rush to the front cab to watch us go, and maybe to try to figure out how to move this huge car and follow us down the road.

The RV World – Day 11

Do you want to get to know somebody? Live with them.

Do you want to see someone’s true self in every situation? Live with them on tour.

Do you want to know if you can really stand a person in almost every way? Live with them in an RV.

When I embarked on this RV-experiment, I joked that if I could make it out of the RV in three weeks without punching everyone in my family at least once, I would consider living in an RV full time.

Two weeks in, and the status is….. good… ish.

Don’t get me wrong. My boyfriend is the most wonderful partner in the entire universe, and my pets are adorable and fun…. but we live in a tiny, tiny box. We are bound to get on each other’s nerves. Right?

Sorta.

See, I’ve been lucky enough to pick the most amazingly patient boyfriend in all the land, so mostly everything is great in couple-land. Sure, there’s been a few “CLOSE THE DOOR!” shouting incidents, trying to keep our cat inside that has hurt some feelings… and maybe there was an incident involving a door slamming on someone else’s finger accidentally … (I still feel bad about that) But really and truly, I have to give credit where credit is due- I never could live in a tiny box with anyone else besides my kind, loving, and extremely understanding boyfriend Phillip.

My pets, on the other hand….

Just kidding. They’re great. Yes, Mikko chases the cat like it’s his job. And yes, it kinda feels like a baby elephant is tap dancing on the roof when he does…. but seeing as Copeland spent most of Mikko’s first year on earth slapping him in the face with a paw and running away, hoping to get chased, I can understand where the pup gets the bad habit.

And yes, Copeland is plotting his great escape every time we open a door, but for the most part he stays inside or, if he manages to slip by, doesn’t run far before plopping down in some grass to graze and rolling around on his back.

So for the most part, the relationships in my family are intact, and as of Day 11, no punches have been thrown. Not intentionally, at least….

The RV World – Week One

August 30, 2014

I’ve been traveling full time with the national tour of the Lion King for almost six years.

That’s over 50 cities in over 30 states lived in. That’s thousands upon thousands of miles driven. That’s tens of fiberglass dinosaur roadside attractions visited.

And now, to complete my wander-kitch-lust lifestyle, we are living in an RV for the next three weeks.

It’s a short experiment to see if I can live with my boyfriend, pitt/mastiff puppy and bengal kitty for almost a month in less than 100 square feet of space, and to see if I like it enough to entertain the idea of buying one to tour full time.

Or, if you would rather:

The true story…

… of one thirty-something couple (and their pets)…

… choosing to live in an RV…

…travel the country together and have their lives blogged about…

…to find out what happens when people stop being polite…

… and start living in an RV.

The RV Life- Day One

After struggling though Montreal’s rush hour traffic, we were an hour late picking up our rig. Bursting into the Cruise Canada office (Cruise America’s more polite, Northern cousin?) we must have looked crazy. We had just finished packing up our lives and driving up from DC for the past 10 hours, not to mention the fact that we are not… how do you say.. their usual RV clientele?

 2014-08-18 17.00.18Checking out the rig.

But got away with renting our rig without an AARP card-validating-incident and drove it across the city to our campground. Well, I guess I should say that Phil drove it as I tore ahead in our Prius. Turns out, RV’s don’t corner as well as say, a small hybrid coupe. Whoops.

 

After a slightly hair-raising ride, we pulled into the KOA and set up camp. Phil quickly hooked up our water and electric lines (apparently it’s as easy as it sounds, according to him), we ‘stole’ a picnic table from another unoccupied site (apparently this is par for the course for camp grounds, considering many sites had two picnic tables and others had none…) and we unpacked our Prius into the 30 foot C class rig.

 

2014-08-29 15.48.13

 

Home sweet home. For three weeks.

Before laid eyes on our rig, I was worried that all of my junk wouldn’t fit. (Where oh where would my archery set go?!) But turns out, my worries were all for naught. We fit all of our gear (read: mostly my junk. Phil’s stuff fits into precisely three tiny cabinets) in the RV’s cabin and below deck ‘basement’ storage and ended up with tons of room to spare.

 

2014-08-29 15.37.57

 

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We did some light grocery shopping, as the fridge is small and apparently (as Phil explained it to my non-Physics brain) pulls cool air and moisture from the ambient air, thereby cooling the fridge interior. But this system doesn’t keep the fridge as cool as much as a traditional fridge would.

 

Translation: It’s not that cold, or big, so grocery shop accordingly.

 

 

RV Life- Day Two

We woke up for a long day at the theater (Our first day in a city consists of an early morning meeting -read: 10 am, AKA early for entertainers- a dress rehearsal, and a show. LONG day.) but before we went I had a quick bowl of cereal. As I sat at the tiny kitchenette, I noticed the slight rake at which my milk was resting. It was as if my milk was rolling uphill, to my right, towards the rim of my bowl.

“The rig is slanted.” I declared. The more I stared down the length of the interior, the more I felt the lean. “No way.” Phil replied, but by then my vertigo and nausea had set it. “No. It is leaning. I can feel it. I feel sick.”

“I’m sure you think you feel sick…” was his reply.

But sure enough, after an hour of adjusting the RV by shoving gravel around under the RV tires by hand, I came home after my long day at the theater to a perfectly level RV. Phil knows that whether it’s true or not, if Selena is feeling a certain way, it’s true enough for it to be acted upon.

Good man.

 

RV Life- Day Three

So apparently, it is possible to take showers in the RV.

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Showering, RV style.

It is not possible, however, to take long showers in the RV.

I initially resisted walking the twenty yards to the communal bathrooms. “I’m not going back to my collegiate days of sharing showers,” I sniffed.

But after a slightly chilly ten minute shower in our rig, I decided to give it a try.

2014-08-29 15.43.54 What horrors lie beyond this door…?                                                                                       

 

And you know what? It’s not that bad!

 

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Modern sinks! Ooo la la!

It’s a brand new communal building with nicely lit, securely locking showers, featuring cute, modern inlay tiling in grey and black neutrals.

 

2014-08-29 15.44.20

 

Cute tiles.

There’s even a really cute common area to wash dishes, use a stove or oven, and get all your foosball/air hockey/pool table needs met too!

2014-08-29 15.43.472014-08-29 15.43.41

 

Not bad. Not bad at all…

 

RV Life- Day Six

Meals have been a slightly modified experience, due to the aforementioned tiny-and-not-completly-freezing fridge and smallish kitchen area. But honestly, Phillip has been keeping me extremely well fed.

Maybe even a little too well fed.

See, there’s also this little fire pit outside that comes with your campground. And a few nights this week I’ve come home to a roaring little fire waiting for me, courtesy of my wonderful boyfriend. But the surprises don’t end there.

The first night I rolled up to our little conflagration, Phil had whittled (or just sharpened, I guess) a marshmallow stick to make authentic campfire s’mores. I prefer them on the burned side, and his tiny sharpened spears were just the right size for the job.

The next night, I came home to hot dogs in sliced bread buns. (There weren’t any hotdog buns in the campground store, apparently. But we managed.) And of course, s’mores for dessert.

While all of this campfire fare makes my mouth extremely happy, it’s making my waistline extremely soft….

But let’s be clear. I’m definitely complaining about it.