Slow & Steady

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We are slowly getting things ready for the big road trip. About 4 weeks or so left before we leave NC. Trying to get things sorted, stowed, and backed up is just tedious. I feel like we shouldn’t have to go through this again. We moved from a 1700 sq ft house in 2007 and even though we have not collected THAT much — it is more than this RV can handle. Well, more than I can handle in this RV. I detest clutter. A place for everything and everything in its place.

But, we are making progress – slow and steady.

Michael is working on plotting the course and stop-overs. It makes me crazy because we don’t have solid dates. It has been “in a few weeks” since last Autumn. Soooooo… I am trying not to get worked up and let it just be what it is. But, being the planner that I am – I admit it is driving me a bit wonky.

Friday we went going over to a friends for BBQ chicken and fixins. She was heading out for while and as an RVer you HATE to have to cook the night before you get up early and hit the road. Potluck time!!

 

RV Living

We just returned from 2 weeks in the motorhome. It was quite fun and much different than 5th Wheel living — peeing at 60mph is a thrill. The motorhome made even a WV Wal-Mart parking lot feel like home. The dogs are getting used to it – as well they should.

We talked about going back to full time almost immediately after we sold our 5th Wheel last year. So it is no surprise to anyone that we are looking to going back to full-timing.

Which means a few things — we have to start reigning in the hobbies that take up so much space and downsizing. While the RV does have 4 (albeit not-so-great tvs) .. we need to start thinking about selling off stuff and try very hard not to acquire new stuff.

Time will tell. There is no calendar set on this move — we are just in planning phase now. But since we have the motorhome, we have space and dimensions to think about and make concrete plans.

Yay us.

Back it up.

You don’t have to impress me. You don’t have to lie to me. If you have a 40′ RV hitched up to a 50K$ truck and you haven’t a clue how to drive or back it up – don’t lie to me. Just tell me you NEED a pull thru or a vast open space to back that thing up in to.

Also don’t tell me that you and your wife have “signals” when all they are is her standing there yelling stop when you almost hit something. Ass end left 2 feet, front end straight, those are signals … pointing even works.

Where do these people come from? I guess I am an overthinker, over -researcher … I want to know how it all works before I venture out.

Michael and I have walkie talkies for the blind spots and hand signals for the mirrors … even though most of the time Michael can back our rig up in his sleep, blind folded with one hand tied behind his shell. Anyhow – that is my Friday rant. We have them lined up this weekend so I am sure I will have more material before the holiday is over.

Be safe and remember what Memorial Day is about.

Petaluma

We have set up camp in Petaluma, CA and love it here. Yesterday we went to the Petaluma Historical Museum to see of all things ELVIS!! He really is every where. Gotta love that. After we stopped by the TWiT Cottage to take some pictures and Leo walked up and invited us in. We spent 2 hours there – loved it. Leo Laporte is so gracious and nice. I got to play with his iPad and you know what … people are right. You don’t think you need one or want one if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch … UNTIL you get your hands on an iPad. Lovely bit of technology. I don’t know if I will get one right away but I want one. = )

After the time at the cottage LK took me to Viva Chocolat for goodies. I was so proud of myself, knowing we would be here all week I went sparingly on the chocolate NOM. But it was hard. Yay me for will power.

The sunroof will be in on Wednesday so we will get that fixed, Too Crazy Ladies are coming into town so we will get to visit with them as well. Today we are supposed to see Petey and Tricia and go see Kick-Ass.

I feel like the Duke boys – “having more fun than the law will allow”. = )

Memories

Driving down I40 through Oklahoma, 28 years since I lived in this state. I had forgotten how beautiful it was. A mix of scrub brush and prairies. With rolling green hills dotting the horizon. I had forgotten about the native peoples – their beauty and strength.

When we first crossed the state line memories began to flood my mind. I spent several years of my childhood in Oklahoma – Lawton to be exact. My dad was in the Army and when we lived here we spent many weekends camping and visiting the natural areas – Mt Rogers, the refuge with the prairie dogs and Bison.

I remembered my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Royal, her beautiful cocoa skin and her curt manner that seemed to soften before my very eyes. I fondly remember my rabbit, Casper, he was a runt of the litter and for a local man who raised rabbits for food he was considered a waste – my mom talked him into letting the baby bunny come home with me from a local flea market, with much love and food Casper had become the bane of our toy poodles existence. Chasing her around the backyard and running around like the silly bunny that he was.

Memories I haven’t thought of in years. Happy memories that to this day make me smile and feel content.
Yeah, it is going to be a good trip.

This trip is stressful and there is a lot of physical pain that I am paying for the time on the road but I think as we move along this voyage becomes cathartic. Memories that I’ve not thought about in years, decades really – are coming back and it is okay. I am grateful for this trip, grateful for the therapy it is giving me.

Rally Ends

Tonight was the last night of the Rally. I have met some really nice people here. Met some that come with the stupid comment or whispers — I can’t decided which, if I feel sorry for them or just want to make fun of them.

Tonight was the farewell dinner with raffle prizes and dueling pianos. Good time. had by all.

Tomorrow is a lazy day — then Monday morning first then we have to head over to Heartland RV to get some warranty work done. Then off for home. Long freakin’ week. I am spent!!

Oh yeah .. we are parked between two rigs from Michigan, both rooting for the wings — guess who has been rubbing in the GWINS!!!! hells yah!!

The Devil’s Playground

That’s right guys and dolls .. LOUP is heading to Amish Country. LK and I are attending the International Heartland RV Rally in Elkhart, IN. We are picking up Twila on the way and since I am not a RV club kind of gal. Twila and I have plans.

What kind of plans you ask?

Visit my Uncle Ron – I haven’t seen him since 1988. Visit Wolf Park!!! (Here I come Orca!!), James Dean’s home town of Fairmount – – – also apparently the home of Garfield the Cat and Jim Davis. Also something I have wanted to do since I was 13 – but in life didn’t get the chance. I wanted to meet Ryan White. So I am going to visit his grave.

Not the weirdest thing I have ever done – but not something on every one’s THINGS TO DO IN INDIANA list either.

We are leaving next Sunday … so I have to get some plans made and some cleaning done.

Star Light Star Bright

We are parked in my Uncles driveway. It is a brisk night. I can see every star out. Quiet and clear as a bell. No city lights, no dense covering of trees.

Night birds, frogs, the occasional nicker of the horse in the neighboring pasture.

LK is asleep and I am awake just enjoying the peace and quiet. If it were just a smidge warmer out I would be lying in the grass star gazing instead of lying on the couch.

This is the best RV spot we’ve had so far. = )

Oh yeah .. GO PENS!! Nice Hat-trick.

Berea, KY

We pulled into camp yesterday around 4 pm. I am spoiled. RV Parks should be like Country Waye in Luray – or KY Horse Park in Lexington. We are right off 21 and next to a car wash. Pretty bleak. But I am here for visiting and checking out the town.

LKs sister and her family came down from Lexington yesterday for a quick visit. I feel bad we didn’t just sit around a campfire and talk but we were hungry and tired. So Cracker Barrel it was. She found a yummy goat milk lotion – the scent was “Blue Ridge Wildflowers” and having lived on the Blue Ridge Mountains for 10 year  — they got the smell right. I bought a few things. = 0)

My uncle started having some heart flutters. We didn’t hesitate and took him to the ER. He is fine but better safe than sorry. His new thyroid med is the culprit.

Sitting in the waiting room LK has his laptop, I had my netbook, my aunt had her iPhone, I showed her my iTouch — then some unsavory looking man said “Where y’all staying?” WTF? Maybe I am just not as trusting as I should be but really WHAT THE FUCK! LK said over by the interstate. I would NOT have been so nice.

I haven’t seen much of Berea but I am hopeful today’s visiting puts it in a better light. I feel like I could have gone to any small town in NC with some craft shops and saved the 8 hour drive.

Saw little carnage inside upon arrival. I am learning where to stow things when we are mobile. I lost a horse head figurine I bought several years ago during my first trip to Kentucky Horse Park. Sad moment. Swapping my desk and futon really helped keep the disarray down.

While on the road a fellow WolfPack fan spotted my flag hanging in the window and gave us the HOWL hand signal. Very cool — other than that the trip here was (as we like it) uneventful.

Time in Luray

Monday morning we slept in – it was so nice. The sun was shining bright – the girls LOVED all of the grass and new smells. The campground really is wonderful.

We went up to Skyline Drive for a bit to look at the Valley. It was colder and really windy so we didn’t stay long. We had lunch at this fabulous home cookin’ cafe at Brookside Cabins on 211. Virginia Ham sammich for a lumberjack!! It was about the same as eating at some fast food joint but we were STUFFED!!

We got to the Luray Rescue Zoo a little after 1pm. Mark was a great guide. One of, if not the ONLY time I have ever learned anything new at a zoo. Lots of great critters and Mark was really a fantastic guide. Very hands on and it was clear to see how much the animals there loved and respected him.

We spent 2.5 hours there … I could have spent another 2.5 hours but we were both getting sore and tired.

BLUE hasn’t been feeling well so we didn’t get to meet up with he and Chrissy – but next time. For sure — just feel better BLUE, that is all we ask.

The trip home was a little more stressful – LK had to make some quick maneuvers to escape an idiot on the road. When we stopped and looked in — it was a mess. Everything that should not have moved — did. So before the next trip it is my job to batten everything down. A bit of a panic attack later we got back on the road and the rest was smooth as butter. Just my nerves got the better of me. As a result today I have no energy and hurt even more than before.

It is all about the spoons!!

All in all the trip to Luray was WONDERFUL and I would do it again in a heartbeat!!

RV – getting here

Until last week we didn’t even own a truck. We put the cart way before the horse.

There are so many people and companies that deliver and move RV trailers around that we thought better get the place to live before we worry about the way to get it anywhere.

Like I said before LK got really involved with the Heartland RV group. He was connected with a guy who moves coaches around from the factory to a dealer in — I think it is Tennessee. Been a while. Anyhow, guy showed up and after a bit of trouble getting started thanks to all of the rain / mud we were hooked up.

We had to take the coach into a local RV shop to have some work done on her before the big move. The hauler was cool with it. Yeah, something was wrong with the coach.

No matter what coach you buy you will run into shit breaking, and things needing fixed. The difference between them all is how the companies deal with it. Customer service is a top priority with Heartland. We have had several things over the last year that needed dealt with and it has always been swift and courteous. I am all about customer service. If you make and sell a product that you don’t stand behind 100% I don’t want to buy that product I don’t even want to deal with yah. But Heartland has and continues to impress me on that level.

Once we were on the road it was less than 8 hours before we made it to the campground. Cost us less than renting the truck from VA to KY with our stuff in it to move our whole house!! Very cool. Imagine how cheap it will be when we just have to hook up our truck and buy diesel. = )

Camping Info & Links

BLUE asked about information on knowing where to go / camp etc.

My aunt and uncle have camped since before I was born – so when I was kid it was just 2nd nature. Sleeping outside – under the stars gives yah a fantastic feeling. Sleeping inside your coach with running water and TCM channel – even better *grins*

There are many types of RVs (Recreational Vehicle) out there. Motor Homes, Travel Trailers, Class A, Class C, pop ups, toy haulers – it can be overwhelming. Some camp sites don’t have full hook ups, some don’t allow tent camping — you really just have to know what you want / need and have Google handy.

RV Glossary is a good place to start to get a handle on the lingo.

Love RVing has a lot of information about general stuff as well as campgrounds, used campers and so on.

For BLUE and any other unfortunate souls living in VA …

Go Camping and RVing in Virginia – this site is run by Virginia.gov so it is not comprehensive – accurate – or all that useful but it is a start.

RV part 2

Shortly after our RV showed up we made a trek to VA to get some things. Our eyes were bigger than our coach. We had rented a truck and came back with so much stuff that boxes were literally stacked floor to ceiling all over with a mere path to the fridge and front door.

You find out you can live without a lot of things once you make the choice to life full time in an RV.

For instance … books. Heavy space sucking books. I love books too. The way they feel, smell – the turn of a crisp page. Yeah I’m crazy like that. But 10 boxes of books wasn’t at all practical to keep. So I sold most of them to a used media store. Same went for CDs and DVDs. We paired down a lot of stuff in a short time.

I was so proud of LK – after years of collecting parts and bits of technology – tools and pieces of projects that he might “need again someday” – he left 99.9% behind.

Living in an RV full time has done a lot for my shopping habits as well. I still tend to pick up items I think I want / need and carry them around the store. As I shop I think about the use of the item, how much space will it take up, can it be multitasked. 9 out of 10 times it gets put back. Clutter can not be part of your life when you live in 400 sq ft of space.

= )

It’s been a year of RVing full time and I love it. I love it even more now that we have a truck and we CAN actually go somewhere. But it really is a comfortable home.

After a few weeks of unpacking, donating, selling and giving away things we made a dent and the boxes were gone. Some things were gone that we weren’t willing to part with.

Our generator was stolen – while we were home, asleep. It was attached to the RV by a very large cable. Unfortunately, this coach is insulated so well not even the dogs heard the theives working to cut the cable. It was gnarled pretty bad so we know it took them some time to cut it.

Living in that trailer park was awful. About the time LK figured out the job there wasn’t what they sold him on the SWAT team showed up to the trailer park to stop a man with a shotgun from killing himself. Not just the SWAT team – but pretty much the entire Lexington police force along with the MAYOR – talk about small town tactics. It was time to leave.

Before Spring sprung LK had interviewed in Raleigh, NC for his current job and we were making plans to escape Lexington before anything else happened to us.

We hired someone to tow the coach to our new “lot” in NC. We secured anything that would fall over, rattle and pulled in the slides and away we went. Woke up in our own bed – drove to our new place – slept in our own bed. Easiest move we’ve ever had.

to be continued