Friday, December 21, 2012

Only in Florida......

This evening while staying warm inside the RV we heard music coming from outside. It's a very quiet community (old people!) so it really got our attention. We flew to the door and attempted to open it (been having problems with it opening & closing properly). Got it open and ran outside. What to our wondering eyes did appear but a golf cart parade of Christmas carolers. Only in Florida! There were a lot of them, all decked out with lights and other holiday fun stuff.  It was both amusing and touching. We laughed. We cried.

This campground is made up of mostly permanent residents living in structures built around what once were mobile RV's. Many of them look like ordinary houses. But others leave clues to their past lives. I'm intrigued by the transformation of these houses on wheels to houses without wheels. I'll take some pictures to show you all later.

The "official" mode of transportation here is golf carts. It's a hoot to watch them all making their daily rounds. Sort of like an elderly version of cruising. Whoever thought I would be happy living in a retirement community? But I think we enjoy being the youngest ones around. This morning we spotted a couple of twenty somethings out walking and it was like "whoa look at the YOUNG PEOPLE!!". Ahahaha.

We've been spending a lot of time at Karin's parents house. They also live in a 55 plus neighborhood. But it's  not the campground type. And it's huge. But it's still funny. Look what we found in Karin's uncle's yard.

Flaccid palm tree. Go ahead and laugh. God knows we did! Click pic to make bigger.  Pun intended.   :)

In other news, we are still searching for a car. No luck thus far. At this point we are pretty much putting it off until after the holidays. We are being shuttled around by Karin's parents for the time being. All is good.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Disguised As Old Ladies

Hard to believe but we've been settled into one place for three full days now. It feels awesome to be contentedly setting up housekeeping for a good spell rather than to be pulling out every single morning for the road. We had allowed ourselves ten days for the trip even though we had it broken down into eight travel days. We built the extra days in "just in case". Our first day on the road ended up being one of those. But we got into Brooksville two days early since we didn't lose anymore days.  :)

Since our reservation for the campground we had lined up wasn't for another two days, we decided to get a spot somewhere else for our first two nights here. But we loved the first place so much we ended up cancelling our reservation at the other place, especially after driving over there and checking it out. Much better where we already are! It's out in the country, woodsy, quiet and very pretty. It's also a 55 plus community, which both of us are NOT. So shhhh! everyone and don't give us away. Can't believe we crashed an old peoples campground. But what a difference it makes to not have kiddos running amok or a lot of party animals.

We've been busy getting our stuff better organized and are realizing that we could go even smaller if we wanted to. We have some extra storage space at this point. Makes me happy! We've also been spending time with Karin's parents which is why we're here in the first place. Feels good to know we can spend plenty of time with them. They rock!

We called a mobile RV guy the campground recommended about some of the problems we've been having. After talking to Karin a few minutes he said "you guys are new to this aren't you?". Hahahaha....wonder what gave us away? Two of the problems he talked us through over the phone. Yup. They were super simple fixes. The refrigerator and outlet that didn't work were due to a tripped GFI outlet. And the propane not firing was just because we didn't have the LP detector switch in the right position. Oh embarrassing! He will be out to check out the water tank issue in the morning. He suspects a valve not connected properly somewhere. Hoping he's right, although from what we saw am still thinking it's the tank itself.

Once we get that all squared away the next thing on our agenda is to buy a car that we can flat tow behind the RV. We came out here car-less. Our unexpected repairs on the road ate into our car fund though. So it's going to be a bit more challenging to get what we need. We're renting a car right now to get around in. So  we need to find a car before the end of the week.

So far we are all (fur babies included) adapting very well to living this way. In fact I'd say we are loving it!




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Think I Can, I Think I Can......

We've now been on the road for a full week. Currently we are in Perry, FL, the town that "smells like money. Okay really it smells like wood pulp (a stinky smell). But the paper mills are how they make their living here. It's been dismal since we crossed into FL; dark and dreary and raining kittens and puppies. We are hoping to actually see some sun tomorrow. I seriously do not handle gloomy weather well. Might be why I spent the last six years in Tucson.

So believe it or not, we have had five days in a row of no driving mishaps! And tomorrow we finish our journey to Brooksville FL. In the beginning I don't think either of us thought we would actually make it. But I don't want to disappoint our readers either. We know you value entertainment!

On to the fun stuff. Driving time may be running smoothly but our down time has been anything but. Something is causing our propane to not fire. This means no heat and also the refrigerator must run off of AC instead of the propane. What complicates this is that the other morning when we got up, a couple of outlets and the refrigerator had quit working. The light inside the fridge works. The lights on the control panel of the fridge work. But the fridge itself not so much. So. It won't work with either propane OR electricity now. No fridge. So to keep from losing our food we've had to resort to throwing in bags of ice. Which then melt and make a drippy mess.

What else? Oh, it's been unseasonably cold on top of everything else. No propane, no heat. So we had to go out and buy a portable heater. We do have a heated mattress pad and an electric blanket so we haven't frozen to death overnight at least. And then there's the issue of every day when we pull into a camp spot and plug in. And nothing happens. We keep flipping switches. And for some reason it takes forever to get power to the RV. It's always come on eventually but it's like this stupid struggle every single time. Once it comes on it stays on and we're fine. Bizarre. And then today, the entry steps have decided they no longer want to stay down. So every single time we enter and exit the RV we have to wait for the steps to go down. Not a huge deal. Just an annoyance on top of everything else!

We have plenty to deal with once we settle into our spot in Brooksville. But at least we can stay put for a while and get things organized better. Really looking forward to that!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Should We Name Her Murphy???

Days four and five of our trek went great! But wait…..let me back up a bit because I haven’t mentioned day three yet. Oh boys and girls….you thought our first day out was interesting? You haven’t heard anything yet!
We woke up Friday morning to discover that all night long we were leaking water onto the ground. After further inspection we discovered that the holding tank had sprung a leak. No, make that a geyser. The entire compartment where the tank sits was a wet, soggy mess. Not a huge deal. But it means that until we can get around to replacing or repairing the tank, we cannot use water! It complicates things but still is nothing we can’t deal with for a bit.

We hit the road aiming for Fort Stockton, Texas. We planned to arrive by 4 pm. Three o’clock rolled around and we were about 40 minutes out. All was good. And then……BAM! Not one, but TWO tires blew out. REALLY??? Do we have a big fat target on us or what?

Once again, Karin was a champ at smoothly getting the RV off the side of I-10. The thing never fishtailed in the least. I was in awe! Then came another call to Good Sam’s. Yup. Best. Money. Ever. Spent.  J  They sent out a tire guy and he went to work. Well, being that this was us, that did not go smoothly. Turns out it was a very rare case of not being able to get the tires off the rim without cutting them off, which has to be done at the shop. The shop was a 40 minute drive from where we broke down. So by the time he got to us, went back to the shop,  did what needed to be done, returned to us and put the tires back on……we sat on the shoulder for five hours of agony. And then we just by the skin of our teeth made it to the campground before they closed at nine. Exhausted and ready to dump the RV somewhere and call the whole thing off. After already shelling out $650 the first day for the alternator, we added to that by the tune of $733 for the tires. Would have only been $500 if it had been a normal replacement. So only three days into our adventure and we’re out $1383 for repairs. Man oh man. That was NOT a pleasant day. We felt completely beat down.   L

Just a bunch of rubber ribbons now!

Tire guy to the rescue

FYI- click on the pics to enlarge :)

But a new day almost always brings new hope. After a pretty good night’s sleep we hit the road with renewed faith. We set our intentions to reach our destination safe and sound with no new problems. And that’s exactly what happened. The RV ran great the full day and we actually made it to camp with plenty of daylight still left to enjoy. And then today we tackled driving through Houston. We planned our travel days specifically so that we would go through Houston on the weekend. So glad that we did! Anymore traffic on I-10 would have been pretty stressful. But on a Sunday it was quite manageable. And we have now reached the halfway point of our trek to the Tampa area of Florida. So excited!!!

Our fur babies are adjusting well to life on the road. Dexter,who has never been good in the car has been surprisingly calm. While driving he occasionally whimpers and wines but for the most part just sleeps. The cats run for cover when we hit the road but come out as soon as the engine shuts off. And just like we suspected they adore the expansive windows. They have a much better view than they did in the apartment.

I'm posting infrequently because internet access has been either slower than snot, or nonexistent. Today is much better though. Once we get into Florida we will get ourselves set up with a wifi card. We tried to set up a hotspot off of Karin's phone but that didn't work out. User error I'm sure. Keep laughing at us. We can take it.   :)

Peace out my tiny tunas! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Plans??? They Are Made To Be Changed......

We can finally call ourselves full-timers. Our RV is our only home! We are currently in New Mexico; part way between Las Cruces and El Paso. We left Tucson about 2:30 pm Wednesday and got here about 5 pm today (Thurs.). Wondering what took us so long to travel 285 miles? Well........that's where things get interesting!

We departed, headed onto I-10 towards New Mexico. We were cruising along and getting to the esat end of Tucson. I walked back to the bedroom to check on the cats; wanted to make sure their carrier had gone flying off the bed. All was well and they were curled up together as tightly as two cats can be. As I got back up to the front, Karin commented that the speedometer had quit working. And immediately after that there was a series of loud pops coming from somewhere behind us. And immediately after that......we lost all power! Our speed dropped rapidly as we coasted to a stop on the shoulder. Karin did a great job maneuvering. It's a lot harder doing that with an RV than with a car. And this was our first time even taking it out on the interstate. Neither of us freaked out. But it is not fun hanging out on the shoulder of a busy freeway in a large rig.

The good news is that we had purchased Good Sam roadside assistance. Guess what purchase has already paid for itself??? Oh yeah.....that was money well spent! We called and they went about finding an RV service center to have it towed to. The first two places they called wouldn't be able to get to us for two to three weeks. WHAT??? Ummmm....not going to do us much good. So they kept trying and found a place that could take us that very day. That's more like it!

By the time the tow truck showed up we had been on the shoulder about an hour and a half. At least we had company though because Karin had called the guy who has been helping us out with various projects on the RV. He and his wife came out and stayed with us to make sure we were safe and to make sure we weren't left stranded. The service center was pretty close by and we got there before they closed for the day.

Since it was almost closing time they couldn't start on it till the morning. This center isn't set up like some of the RV only centers to have you camp out there while work is being done. But our friend Sean pleaded our case and they agreed to let us stay there with the RV. Whew! Not so difficult to put the two of us up for the night with friends or whatever, but throw in two cats and a very anxious dog? Too stressful to think about.

So they put us in a bay of the garage, hooked us up to electricity and shut us up for the night. We had easy access to a restroom. But it was beyond weird spending our first night on the road still in Tucson but inside a shop. But then again,we had everything we needed. We were warm, sheltered, had a stocked fridge and pantry. No internet, no cable or any other distractions. But we were so bone tired that we really didn't care. We ate, we let the cats out to explore and we collapsed by 9 pm. And we slept great.

First thing in the morning they got going to figure out what was wrong. Turned out that the alternator wasn't doing it's thing. Which was an easy fix. Wish I could say it was inexpensive! They treated us fabulously there though and in speedy fashion.We were able to resume our travels by about 12:45 pm and made it to the destination that we had originally planned for our first day. Good thing we built a couple of extra days into our schedule for getting out to Florida (smart we are!).

So....24 hrs later than planned and $650 less in the bank than planned and we are just thrilled to be moving forward. Tomorrow we should cross into Texas and spend the night in Fort Stockton. Going to try adding a few pics and hope it all goes through. The wifi here is slower than dial-up. Ick....

Hanging out on the shoulder

We spent the night at this fine facility!

Karin at the wheel

Finally making progress   :)

Here's to a much more fun post next time for us anyway!     :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Twenty Days Till Blast Off....but who's counting?

It is getting scary REAL. Less than three weeks to go. We're in a really strange place right now. One moment we are freaking out because there is so much to be done. The next we are twiddling our thumbs because there's not that much we can do until the last week or so.

We've completed all the mechanical work that needed to be done before hitting the road. We do have a few small electronics projects which we're waiting to hear from our expert what we need to get so that he can do those. We have been listing stuff on craigslist like crazy. To look at our apartment it would appear that we have barely begun to get rid of stuff. But the truth is that most of it is spoken for, just not gone yet. So actually we are doing very well. And it's nice to still have use of our stuff until closer to departure!

We did some shopping for things we need in the RV. We're trying not to go crazy with that. We'd rather spend time living in it a while and then figure out what our needs really are. I'm sure the first few weeks will be "interesting" to say the least. But I'm really looking forward to making our RV a home. We won't really know until we load it up just how much food we can reasonably store at a time. Or how much clothing we can have with us. I'm not too worried because we really won't have much left! Our closets in the apartment are pretty bare looking already. As is our little pantry. We've embraced minimalism already.  :)

We ultimately decided to sell Karin's car before we leave, drive the RV to Florida without a tow vehicle and then purchase a flat-towable car once we get there. While it will leave us without a way to get around easily on our trek out, it will also mean plenty of driving time to get used to driving the RV before adding the extra length of a tow car. Works for us. We will wait another week to put the car up for sale. We have a friend who will loan us her car to get around here in once the car sells, which hopefully will sell as fast as my car did.

Details. So many details. Ahhhhh......

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Here, It's Here...THE BLOG IS HERE!!!

And that my friends is exactly what we're setting out to do. We'll get back to ya on how the experiment goes! No matter the outcome, I'm pretty sure we won't regret taking a chance. This is the very first post in our blog which will be documenting our experiment in both nomadic and simpler living. I'm Brenda; Karin will share the writing with me. Say hi Karin!!!

Please check out the tabs at the top of the page to learn more about us and our new home on wheels. We'll be adding to the blog as we have more to share. As we experience what this new lifestyle has in store for us, we'll pass it all on to you. Okay....not every detail, just the ones worth sharing. We hope it will be informative, inspiring and probably most of all humorous! Cause folks here's the deal. Life is a big fat joke any way you slice it. The ones laughing get it. The one's freaking out haven't quite figured that out yet. I'd love to help them let loose a little.   :)

We start this grand adventure December 5, 2012. Six weeks and two days from now. YIKES!!! We'll gladly accept prayers, positive energy, hugs, bad jokes and donations. Especially donations.   :)