Posts Tagged ‘road trip’

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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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.


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…