Posts Tagged ‘rv’

The RV Life has MOVED!!!!!!

December 28, 2014

HI all!!

If you found me via my RV Life series, I’m here to tell you IT’S MOVED!!!!!

This blog that you’re currently on is my personal blog that stretches back maaaany years.

It’s also been my staging ground for new projects, such as my RV blog.

Well, she’s grown up and gotten her own page now, so go check us out at http://www.xyrv.wordpress.com

Follow, subscribe, read, comment….. and ENJOY!

Thanks so much!
Selena

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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.

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- 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….