There’s an RV travel blog that I follow & have done so for several years, it’s called RV Dreams. It’s about the travels, misfortunes, & lives of full timers Howard & Linda Payne. Recently Howard had posted a blog titled Relaxed Busy In A Lovely Setting in which he made some introspective musings on the full time RV lifestyle. Several of his comments really got me to thinking, have I been unintentionally misleading my blog followers? I read that specific blog of Howard’s on Oct. 24 & here it is 7 days later & my mind keeps drifting back to it. Maybe it’s time I made a few comments of my own.
We have some friends & a couple of family members who’ve expressed to us that they too hope to become road gypsies one day. There is nothing that Don & I would enjoy more than seeing folks we care about pursuing their dreams & following our example. My fear though is that they haven’t fully thought this out but are basing their decision wholly on what they’ve read in our travel diary. I am guilty of posting mainly the highlights of our travels, with few exceptions do I write about the mundane, the breakdowns, the doubts. RV fulltiming is not a lifestyle for the easily intimidated. Do not think for one moment that it is or will be One Endless Summer Vacation. IT ISN’T NOR WILL IT BE.
For instance…yes we did spend one whole day relaxing on the pristine, lovely white beach of Gulf Shores. We grabbed our beach chairs, a cooler full of drinks, our books & towels & on our way, we picked up subs for our lunch later on. We basked in the warmth of the day & the glorious sunshine. We even witnessed for the first time a phenomenon called halo around the sun. BUT, what did we do on the remaining days of the week?
Laundry day & because we knew we wanted to spend Tuesday at the beach, it was grocery shopping day as well. It was also the day we drove to the local post office to pickup our twice a month packet of mail. Aah, what do we have here? A letter from the dreadful IRS. They have an issue with our 2011 tax filing. They disagree with our mortgage interest claims & want us to pay more taxes. According to their letter, we have a week to take care of the matter or we will start accumulating interest to be paid as well. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, we’ve had this same problem on our 2009 filing. Deja vu? We have our taxes prepared by H&R Block & have used the same Block CPA since 1990 but we didn’t have the luxury of time or location to use our usual CPA to handle this for us. Don got online to search for a local H&R Block franchise, he found 2 but with it being the off-season for them, both were only open 1 day a week. Only 1 was open on this day so with time being of the essence, I locate the necessary papers & we made the 20 plus mile drive to have this matter tended to. It’s a good thing we keep our tax papers on board even though they do take up more room than we’d like. This took 2 hours out of our day that we hadn’t bargained for but thankfully the issue is cleared up & we don’t owe more in taxes. Whew!
How can we both experience brain farts on the same day, over the same thing? I don’t know, but we do. Neither of us had thought to empty the gray tank lately………….Don notices that the shower drain isn’t draining & much to his alarm he immediately knows why. As he steps out of the shower he can smell it. The gray tank has overflowed. Well thank goodness it was the gray & not the black. Sometimes you have to look for the good in bad situations. Our overflow release valve is located in the pass-thru & that’s exactly where the gray tank has deposited its excess water. We would’ve liked to have taken advantage of another beautiful day at the beach but instead we have a mess to clean up. Don goes out & releases the handle for the gray tank to drain into the sewer pipe. Next, the large storage compartment needs to be emptied out, items need to be cleaned & dried off. Don gets out the wet vac to use & also deodorizes the area. Doors are left open & small fans are put in place to circulate the air & aid the drying process. It is a time consuming chore. Everything must be thoroughly dried before being put back into the basement area. We don’t want mold growing! Since we have to allow for drying time, we decide to tackle cleaning the 3 Fantastic Ceiling Fans. If you watch the online video with tips as to how to disconnect & clean the fans, it looks easy enough but on the first fan we tackle we find that OUR fans are hard-wired into the rig leading Don to improvise on the fan blade & motor removal. With Don working from the topside of Suite Pea & me working from the inside, we do accomplish our task. We’re both grateful that this chore isn’t something that has to done on a weekly or monthly basis.
It’s time Suite Pea’s rubber roof is cleaned. Up Don climbs on the ladder to the top of the fifth wheel with the collapsible pail filled with detergent made especially for this job, & a soft brush that was purchased with the cleaning of the rig in mind. Don spends half the morning giving the roof a through scrubbing & rinsing. Once this chore is completed, he closely inspects every seam, seal & cranny for any issues that need to be addressed. An RVer MUST BE ever vigilant in safe guarding his investment against water damage. Don does this twice a year just to be on the safe side. Since he has all of the cleaning supplies close at hand he opts to clean the windows too. We have been waging an ongoing, losing battle with the local Mockingbirds. They see their reflections in the 5er’s windows & fly at them, depositing droppings as they do so, which their fluttering wings promptly smear around on the glass.
While Don is doing this, I locate a laundromat nearby & take the quilt off the bed to be washed as it’s beginning to smell like “dog”. The park laundry doesn’t have a washer big enough to accommodate such a heavy load. I also use this time to try to locate a lab facility where I can have some blood work done that my doctor has requested. I call the service number on the back of my insurance card & ask for listings of independent labs in this area. My provider gives me the name & number to 3 labs in the vicinity. I call the one closest to me. I am informed that they do not do blood work at the lab. I call the second lab on my list. I get a recording telling me the lab is no longer in operation. I make a third call & ditto, same recording. Hmm. I call Anthem back, verify that I may use either of the local hospitals to do my blood work. I didn’t want to utilize a hospital lab for this as I figure it would be a hurry up & wait type of setup but what else can I do. I go online to check out the reviews for each hospital & decide I’ll go to the one that’s a little further away. I call them to get information on where the lab is located, days & times of operation & to see if I need an appointment. Okay, looks like next Wednesday morning I will get this done & out of the way.
So there you have it. This lifestyle isn’t all rainbows, sunshine & roses. It will take you out of your comfort zone. There will be vexing days & mundane chores. Since your home is on wheels, it rattles & shakes on down the road, the nuts & bolts on the inside are shaking & rattling too, things will come loose, things will break. Motorhomes & tow vehicles will need routine maintenance & occasionally will require other services too. You will need to locate & use repair businesses that you are not familiar with & trust them to do what needs to be done. You will experience moments of anguish & doubts. Is this lifestyle worth it? We think so. For us. Do your research. Be thorough. Not everyone is cut out for this. No, full timing really isn’t for the faint of heart.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid………………………….