moving – the good stuff (part 2)

[This is part two of my moving process.  You can read the first part here.]

Well, the last post covered the drama.  Now, to the other side of things.  While going back and forth between the two RV’s I couldn’t help but notice the size difference.  But rather than thinking how large the new RV is in comparison to the old one, which I would think would be the more normal response, I found myself blown away by just how small a space I was moving from!  How did I ever live in that little space for 8 months and find it to be okay?  I still can’t believe the difference!  I feel like I’m coming out of a cramped hotel room and into an actual home!  There is no comparison.  Two very different experiences.  But the first RV really did serve its purpose and I’m very grateful for it!  It got me to the beautiful mountains in North Carolina!

The next thing I couldn’t help but notice was how much stuff I crammed into that little RV!!!  It just kept coming and I thought for a while that I’d never get done – ever!  Yikes!  The thing is that while I was able to pack all this stuff into that RV, I didn’t use a whole lot of it because I couldn’t get to it easily enough.  Now things are much more spread out and more accessible.  It will be interesting to see how this affects me and how I use things differently.

As I write this I am almost completely done with the move.  I have only the desktop computer and my TV to be moved.  I need some help with the computer for sure since it is probably a two person operation to get it off the table with its monitor arm.  On my own I’d risk dropping it since I just don’t have enough hands!  The TV I could probably do on my own but my back really has had enough and if I can get a little help, why not!  Better still, pretty much everything is put away in the new RV.  Now that doesn’t mean the move-in process is actually done. Because I have to leave Tuesday (tonight is Sunday) I don’t really have the luxury of doing a great job of things.  Tomorrow I have to spend doing a bunch of errands, things that have to get done before I leave.  I’ve got all winter to reorganize things!

Now to my conclusion – I am so happy that I swapped RV’s!  I wanted a fifth wheel to begin with and now that I’m in this one I can really see why.  I feel like I’m in a real home now, something I never felt with the other one.  Don’t get me wrong – I loved that little RV but I quickly outgrew it!  The views from this RV are nothing short of stupendous!  Every window with a view!

The view out from my  current kitchen table which will soon be transformed into my desk.

The view out from my current kitchen table which will soon be transformed into my desk.  I didn’t get to take a shot of my favorite view yet so we will have to save that for another time!

I’ve only been here for three nights but already it feels quite a bit like home to me.  I’m pretty sure it will continue to grow on me since I’ve not done a whole lot other than unpack so far!  I cannot wait to begin to use the kitchen with its expansive counters!  When I get back I still have to get a fair amount of winterizing done.  The drafts through the windows are horrible so I’ll need to work on that.  I still need to get a skirt for the bottom of the RV to keep the wind from blowing underneath it.  But I love it here even if I’m a bit chilly and wondering if I will need a mortgage to pay for the propane to heat it!  Once I get to working on it, though, it should be fine.  Oh, and Picasso loves it!  He likes to romp and stomp throughout it and seems really happy here!

We even have a fireplace (electric, of course).  As you can see, Picasso is already loving it!

We even have a fireplace (electric, of course). As you can see, Picasso is already loving it!

I found it utterly weird to move but still be in the exact same location.  That’s a first for me!  I doubt there are too many who’ve done that!  I kept thinking I’d walk out the door and be somewhere else but, nope, I was still here but my experience of “here” was quite different now since the outside was now part of my inside experience because of the windows.

But perhaps the piece I cannot help but notice is the healing that being here has brought to me.  I’ve had such a hard time trusting people as well as my own intuition ever since I lost my business.  By nature I’m a rather trusting person so this has been tough on me.  Throughout this whole process I kept doubting either myself or that Brian could possibly be who he presented himself to be.  I thought I’d be snookered or that this RV was going to be a piece of garbage.  Having some of those odds and ends going wrong didn’t help but I stuck with it.

Tonight (Monday now) Brian came over and this RV is officially mine and the old one is gone.  The swap has been completed.  Brian was here with Scott, his employee.  The hot water heater turned out to need a new element, just as Brian predicted.  [Update on the hot water heater – although it appeared to work after the element was replaced, by morning the water was again only lukewarm.  Not willing to make the same mistake twice, I didn’t take a shower that morning!  Brian will be back again to fix it after Thanksgiving.) The door got fixed needing just a little adjustment.  The circuit breakers were checked and all was good.  The thermostat turned out to be working properly although the LED was a bit wonky so numbers appeared different than they should.  I now know how to work it while Brian looks for a fully working replacement.  Furthermore, Brian is here for the long haul and will be available to help with whatever work might be needed and at prices that will be much more realistic and reasonable.

I cannot tell you just how grateful I am for the help I’ve received since moving here.  Brian singlehandedly has helped my broken truster to start healing.  I followed my intuition, also broken, and have been well rewarded. I have to admit that my life has been just a little strange since I decided to go for this adventure and has been absolutely nothing like I would have expected it to have been.  My favorite activity so far in my new RV is to just sit in one of the lounge chairs with a cup of tea and just take in the wonderful pine tree outside my window as peace envelopes me in her loving arms.

My new kitchen!  Just look at all that counter space!  And speaking of counter space, it's all Corian!

My new kitchen! Just look at all that counter space! And speaking of counter space, it’s all Corian!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I leave for Indianapolis to be with my family.  I am so grateful that we will be seeing each other again after such a relatively short period of time.

I cannot express fully how grateful I am to see this healing come over me.  It has been quite a long time and, to be honest, there were many times I had lost hope that my life would ever come together again.  I just had to keep holding on while moving forward, neither of which was easy at times.

I have to admit to wondering what will be next on my agenda.  I’ve been asked what I would be doing here all on my own for a whole winter.  The reality is I don’t have a clue!  I’m hoping to be writing but I don’t know yet.  Seems whenever I have an idea it turns out to be something different anyway which makes me wonder if I should make plans at all!

I’m also very grateful to each and every one of you who takes the time to read about my crazy, adventurous, healing life.  It’s a real pleasure to have you with me!  Life can be good again even after falling apart.  When I first decided to get the original RV it was because “my body” told me that the experience would bring healing.  I thought it would be about the travel but apparently that isn’t the case.   I just needed a new, healing location.  I feel like tremendous healing is and will continue to take place in my life while I’m here.  I’ve met some wonderful people and I’m grateful to each and everyone of them.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Our lovely turkey on the rotisserie while being smoked!  Yum!

Happy Thanksgiving! Our lovely turkey on the rotisserie while being smoked! Yum!  My son Kris did a great job on this bird while Elizabeth my daughter-in-law did all the rest!

May this Thanksgiving season find you with people you love enjoying each other’s company.  May there be a great many things for you to hold in your heart with gratitude and, if not, know that things can really change.  They have for me; they can for you.  Blessings and love to you all!

© 2015 deborah kauffeld

moving – the drama (part 1)

[It has taken me much longer to get this posted than I expected since my internet service was quite intermittent “on the mountain”.  That is about to change as I will be getting my very own internet service in a few days!]

As I start to write this it is the beginning of the week leading to one of my favorite holidays – Thanksgiving.  And tonight (Sunday evening) finds me nearing completion of the move into my new (to me) RV.  On Thursday Brian, the seller, brought the new RV to the same site I’ve been on for the last three months.  First the old one was moved out to make room and then it was moved back, behind the new one.  This made moving all my stuff a bit easier since both doors were on the same side.

The two RV's end to end, doors on the same side, with my car in the foreground.

The two RV’s end to end, doors on the same side, with my car in the foreground.

Brian got here earlier than expected on Thursday, well before noon.  That gave me a bit more time to get started with the move which was good since I had no choice but to sleep in the new RV that night.  The old one had no utilities so no heat, water or electricity.  It was no longer level either which could probably make sleeping a bit funky!  I didn’t think rolling off the bed in the middle of the night would be fun but it would’ve made getting to the bathroom quicker!  Prior to Brian’s arrival I admit to having been a little nervous that morning wondering if I was totally crazy or what!  But once the RV arrived that all evaporated.

Brian was here quite a while which I found surprising.  Part of the deal Brian and I had was to have new decals installed on the RV before I would get it since many of the original ones were peeling off.  The decal issue was a well known problem for this company for those model years.  While the inside of the RV was in good shape, the outside left much to be desired.   When Brian drove up with the RV I was blown away by just how great it looked with its new decals!  He commented, not complaining, about what a difficult job it was to get them done, never wanting to do it again even though it probably added at least $2,500 to the value.

The full side of the RV.

The side of the RV.

All the peeling decals had to be removed first.  Afterwards, the adhesive was removed using some kind of really nasty product designed to remove the adhesive as well as layers of skin!  Finally, the decals were applied, a process  that required perfect weather  so the decals could properly dry in place.  The decals themselves were actually composed of many different little ones and had to be put together much like a jigsaw puzzle.  I believe it was something like 50 decals in all!  Summer would’ve been the best time to get this work done with the extended daylight hours and warm temperatures.  Well that wasn’t happening and the rains kept coming, totally delaying the application of the decals.  While I can normally be fairly patient under these circumstances, my timeline was getting pretty crunchy given the fact that I had to drive (in my car) to Indianapolis for Thanksgiving and there was much work to be done prior to my departure.

This is a close-up of the decals. Each one of those mountains is a separate decal so you can imagine how challenging it was to get them up correctly!

This is a close-up of the decals. Each one of those mountains is a separate decal so you can imagine how challenging it was to get them up correctly!

When Brian finally got here we all admired the great job that was done on the decals.  It made a huge difference.  I never took a single photo of the rig with the peeling decals but it was not pretty.  The RV then was moved into its new location, leveled and the utilities hooked up.  One of the more important issues was getting the heated water hose installed so that while I was gone the water wouldn’t freeze in the hose if the temperature went below freezing.

Not long after its arrival, Jim and Kathy (owners of the RV park) excitedly came over and asked if they could go inside and check it all out.  Afterwards Jim took me aside to tell me that I did a good job with this RV.  I think he was a bit surprised.  Yesterday he told me he admired me and that he was proud of me!  You never know the impression you make on people unless they decide to share their thoughts.  To be honest, I never would’ve guessed he felt that way!  Jim also told me that he really liked Brian and later was busy picking his brain about his own rig.  What I haven’t told Jim about yet was the fact that I also got a screaming deal on this RV.  Brian bought it for a really good price since Camping World, having taken it in on a trade-in, wanted nothing to do with peeling decals.  I was the recipient of this good deal since Brian passed on the savings!  Brian and I did an even swap of the two RV’s even though the wholesale price of the new one was $5,000 or $6,000 more than the one I was trading!  It’s funny, I didn’t think about it until now but it reminded me of a house that needed a bit of rehab work done to it.  While others couldn’t see the potential, I could and, in this case, it really has paid off!

Eventually everyone left and I was alone with my new home.  Wow!  I really did it!  I was floored by the wonderful views!  Well, enough enjoying things!  Time to get to work!  The first thing I did was get my mattress into the RV (thank you, Jim) and I then had to open the box.  I got a latex mattress and I’m always amazed at how small a box they can get those suckers into!  But now that the box was upstairs in the bedroom I had to open it and get it situated on the bed.  Believe me, this was no easy task!  The mattress, by Jim’s estimation, weighed somewhere around 100 pounds!  Believe me, my back wasn’t at all happy either!  Try as I might I couldn’t get the box open!  I finally pried off the staples from both ends but there was still no getting it out at that point!  I finally took my scissors and began to carefully cut down the side of the box where it was seamed.  It took forever since I had to do a little bit at a time so I wouldn’t accidentally cut the mattress.  When I eventually got it out of the box I then had to get the box out from under the mattress!  Now the next task emerged – getting the mattress out of the plastic wrap that kept it from exploding into a queen size mattress while being shipped!  (What a visual!)  That plastic was quite thick and in several layers.  Again, care was important!  After I got nearly half way done it appeared to have its own life as it began to expand and rip the plastic that was left intact.  I briefly wondered how I was going to manage if the mattress was upside-down.  Realizing that was exactly what was going to happen, I quickly reversed it before it finished coming to life!  Fully open I never would’ve been able to flip it by myself.  Now I had to remove the plastic from beneath the mattress, a slightly easier task then the cardboard since the plastic was much more slippery than the cardboard had been.  After arranging the mattress on the frame it was time to make the bed.

Now you have to understand that this was the first real mattress I’ve had in over six years having slept on either a futon or a sleeper sofa.  There’s a whole lot more to making a real bed!  First the heated mattress pad went on followed by the waterproof pad (my insurance that Picasso won’t mess things up.  He’s been good but, who knows?)  After that, the bottom sheet then the top and then getting the duvet into the duvet cover as well as the pillows into their shams!  Let me tell you, prior to even moving anything my back was already getting quite grumpy about the situation. But, hey!  My bed looked great!  Better yet, it feels great!  I did a good job of choosing and I’m quite happy with it.  Yay!  Thankfully mattress pads don’t have to be done all the time.  Oh, and that heated mattress pad?  Just a little bit of heaven!

My trusty moving helper! couldn't have done the move without it!

My trusty moving helper! couldn’t have done the move without it!

About a week prior to the move I picked up a foldable wagon that I had originally seen in Florida at Bed Bath & Beyond when I was there last month.  It’s one of those with chunky, fat tires that enable it to go through sand and good for up to 150 pounds.  I figured it would work well for what I needed.  I cannot carry much without risking back pain so this would be my transport between the two RV’s.  The best $80 I’ve spent in a long time since it literally saved my back and allowed me to get the move done!  I wish you could see how I have to move things!  I used big plastic containers to put stuff into and then slid it to the door.  I slid it down the steps while using my knee to keep it from getting away from me and then slid it into the wagon.  I then pulled my little blue wagon over to the other RV and did the whole process the opposite direction, careful the whole time not to stress my back any more than the bed had already done.  I am happy to report that my back survived thanks to my crazy ingenuity!

But life hasn’t been without some drama, naturally!  What would my life be like without drama!  First issue – I blew a circuit breaker and it wasn’t even more than a few hours after I was in the RV!  I made some tea for myself and had the heater on the same circuit.  I didn’t realize they were on the same breaker and – boom!  Circuit breaker flipped!  Thankfully I knew where the breakers were so it was an easy fix.  But later I plugged into a different circuit only to have that breaker also flip.  Hmm…I called Brian who told me he figured the circuit had too little amperage to support the heater.  I was a little worried since the breakers were relatively warm.  He told me he would check the breakers when he came back on Monday to pick up the old RV, the day the swap is totally official.

Okay, issues over, right?  Well, I couldn’t get the main door to close easily.  It took some really nasty slamming before it would latch and I was actually getting concerned that I’d destroy something in the process.  Another call to Brian who told me it probably needed a good dose of WD-40. When I found it and sprayed it on it was like magic.  Suddenly the door closed normally although we determined it also needed some weather stripping, something they didn’t have at the time.

The first night was more or less uneventful.  Well, almost.  I went to set the thermostat because heat was an absolute necessity.  Well, another issue!  It seems I could set the temperature at any setting I wanted as long as it was in the 70’s – 90’s or in the 40’s.  The digital thermostat evidently didn’t like the 50’s or 60’s which was a bit of an issue since I wanted to set the temp for 55 that night.  I didn’t think 71 was a good sleeping temperature so 49 it was!  I forgot to put on Picasso’s sweater so the poor little guy must have been a bit chilly but no complaints from him!  When I realized I turned on our little space heater so we were all toasty once again!  Not surprisingly, there was another call to Brian that morning!  He will replace the thermostat when he is here on Monday!

I did a little work around the RV and decided it was time for a shower.  This shower is a bit larger than my last one and has a glass enclosure.  I was looking forward to my inaugural shower.  I got in and ran the water.  I was a bit surprised that the hot water was more lukewarm but given it’s distance from the hot water heater I wasn’t particularly concerned.  About halfway through my shower while I was all soaped up and had conditioner still in my hair, the lukewarm water turned icy cold!  AHHHHH!!!!  I practically cried with the idea of having to rinse off in water that was frigid but I managed, just a little worse for wear!  Brr!!!  Another call to Brian.  He explained how when they are showing the RV sometimes they run the hot water heater either with no or little water and the heating element then dies.  But that doesn’t makes total sense to me since I had hot water prior to that.  I have this weird idea that it really isn’t the rod in the heater but rather something with the circuit breaker from the day before or something else.  It’s just one of those feelings and I could clearly be wrong but I’m too often right to not pay attention to my thought.  I will make sure Brian checks out those circuit breakers well.  Better safe than sorry!

Stay tuned for part 2!

© 2015 deborah kauffeld

hobos

I’m getting an RV!  (No sense burying the lead, right?)  Things can sure change quickly!  To be honest, I wasn’t even looking although I’m always checking out the various ads to see what is out there.  I must have contacted La Mesa RV at one point since I was on someone’s mailing list for their Florida dealerships.

 

I had already come to the decision that I was going to compromise and get a used RV since it would be affordable for me.  I had also decided that smaller was the way to go rather than larger.  While larger would afford me more of a “homey” feeling, allowing me to bring along more stuff, the smaller RV would be less of a hassle when looking to get into smaller campsites or driving in tight situations.  Because I’ve fallen so hard for my car, I knew I wanted to bring it with me wherever I went so that would mean either a Class A or Class C.  Class A’s aren’t exactly smaller so it was the C that seemed to be my choice by default.

 

This is a photo of the model RV I'm getting but not mine!

This is a photo of the model RV I’m getting but not mine!

 

And then the email came telling me of a newly acquired 27’ Class C RV.  While it was ten years old, it only had 25,000 miles on it.  Even though I checked out the ad, I paid no attention to it otherwise.  That night I had a dream in which I was driving some kind of big vehicle.  I knew it was bigger than a truck but not sure what it was.  As I was driving it, I must have taken a right hand turn which was a little too tight and scraped the rear passenger panel of the vehicle.  I woke up and wondered what the dream meant but put it aside for the moment.

 

The RV kept calling me evidently and I finally emailed to find out the bottom line price and its location.  I knew it was in Florida but not sure where.  I got the price and thought it was within my budget so I decided to make the schlep across the state from the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic, a six hour roundtrip.

 

After getting there and meeting the salesman, we immediately went to the RV.  From the outside it looked pretty good.  We went inside.  It is a smaller RV but with a very user friendly footprint as far as I could determine from the photos I had seen.  There is no full-time bed, something I was pretty sure I wanted until I saw this RV.

 

This is the floor plan of my RV.

This is the floor plan of my RV.

 

We spent a large amount of time in the RV.  I looked through it, we chatted and eventually I took some photos of it.  And, speaking of photos, let me apologize for the distortion of the lens in these photos.  It seems I brought two lenses with me but one of them was the wrong lens so all the shots were taken with a fish-eye lens.  While they do a great job of showing pretty much everything within the RV, there is a tremendous amount of distortion with linear things appearing quite curved.

 

See the curve on the top part of the photo?  That's actually straight in real life!

See the curve on the top part of the photo? That’s actually straight in real life!

 

When it was time to check out the exterior of the RV angry clouds were moving in and so I looked to do this quickly.  I forgot to bring my camera out so no exterior shots at all!  But as we looked around the exterior at the storage and everything else, guess what we found?  Remember the dream I had about the scrape on the back passenger side of the vehicle?  Yep, there it was, just as I saw it in the dream!  The salesman missed it in his original go round of the vehicle but there it was!  I knew that meant this was my RV.  Now I understood the meaning of the dream and knowing this was to be my new home, I felt empowered to negotiate hard!

 

The interior of my RV looking to the front.

The interior of my RV looking to the front.  Doesn’t Picasso look comfy?

 

The negotiations progressed with me doing my best to get the lowest price while they tried to get me to pay more.  I’m happy to announce that I think I did pretty well with the negotiation.  They wanted me to move thousands.  I moved only $100!  I will pick it up in a month or so!

 

In the meantime, one of the more important things I was looking for was to make sure there would be enough space for my rebounder, a larger mini-trampoline.  I didn’t even need to measure; it was clear there would be more than enough room and I knew how I would store it.  Okay, so here comes the funny part – I forgot to measure head room!  Yeah, it’s true – there is room to put it on the floor but there may not be enough room to actually use it without hitting my head!  Oy!  I’m sure that will be the first of many little things I find I have to be flexible with.

 

So here’s the plan – I’ve got a little more than six months to get myself ready for some kind of life on the road.  Sounds like a long time but I know it won’t be.  To begin with it might be a rather local road since I still need to be within striking distance of mom.  No problem.  It’ll be a blast anyway.  Now I need to get started getting ready!  Lot’s of work but I’ll save that for another update.

 

In the meantime – I have an RV!!!  And if everything works out, I’ll be getting a vanity license plate – HOBOS – suggested by my friend Carole.  And then us two hobos (Picasso and me!) will be on the road!

introducing my new love…

You know how sometimes you just fall in love with someone completely different from what you ever expected?  I’ve been looking at trailers, 5th Wheels, Class B and Class C RV’s but you will notice the absence of one category – Class A.  Well, guess which one jumped in and screamed he was the one?  Yep, you guessed it – a Class A!  So, without further delay, allow me to introduce my current love:

 

The Jayco Precept

Jayco Precept Exterior

The Precept is a 32’ Class A RV.  Now, before I go on any further, my apologies for the lack of photos from my own personal camera.  Seems I somehow managed to leave the camera at home that day so I will “steal” some photos from the website.  So here we go!  Let’s start with the layout.

Precept Floorplan

Basically it has all the parts I need which is good, right?  First impression – looks pretty as well as classy.

gallery_picture_5973

 

 

gallery_picture_5974

 

The kitchen has ample countertop space and cabinets.

 

Precept Kitchen

 

The drawer bank on the right side pulls out to the position you see in the photo, giving additional counter space.  This model has a convection oven/microwave combo.  I plan on bringing my toaster oven which will allow me to oven-cook or broil when I want.

Looking at the bedroom, you can see the space around either side of the bed making it easy to get in and out.

 

Precept Bedroom

 

For this price point, there is plenty of storage in the bedroom.  Behind the bedroom television is space for DVD’s and whatever else you might want to store there.

 

bedroom storage

 

One really important detail is that the Living Room TV is directly across from the couch so no neck strain!  Hmm…where is the TV?

 

Diner booth

 

40" TV

 

Push a button and, like magic, the TV emerges from its hiding place!  I know that simpler is better but it is the most comfortable location for the television I have found in an RV so far.  Comfort trumps simplicity!

Storage is plentiful on the outside of the coach as these two pass-throughs show.

 

Storage

 

While not terribly important to me, I can watch TV outside on this 40″ TV.

 

Outside TV

 

It has an extremely comfortable cockpit with backup, left and right cameras.  The backup camera comes on automatically when the rig is in reverse and the left and right cameras come on with their respective turn signals.

 

Cockpit

So this is my new love!  I like that it is somewhat higher end without breaking the bank.  The only immediate potential drawback I can see is that there is no place for creating a permanent desk area.  My compromise at this point is to mount my iMac on or near the diner booth in a way that I can easily push the computer out of the way when I’m not using it.  Through the use of my Apple TV, the TV can actually be my second monitor, something I need when working on my photography.  Really, I think that is the only drawback I can see.  It is too soon to say that I am absolutely, positively going with this one since there are still a few hurdles that need to be jumped.  Hurdles or not, I’m really getting excited!

Oh, one other small detail – I’m going to need some kind of transportation once we are at a campsite.  Stay tuned for that decision!

© deborah kauffeld

 

we found it!

Picasso and I went to look at an RV the other day.  I was excited about this particular RV because I was thinking this just might be the one.  Maybe.  But you never know.

 

My first love, the Airstream!

My first love, the Airstream!

We got to the RV dealer and met the salesman at the appointed time.  Steve and I talked for a few minutes and then he went off to find a golf cart so we could get around the lot.  First stop?  The beautiful Airstream trailer I fell in love with.  Although I’m done with the idea of a trailer, I still had to see it just because I was there and so was the Airstream.  I have to say that it was just as beautiful as I thought it would be.  However, the magic of photography took a smaller trailer and made it look a whole lot larger!  All the love in the world can’t change an obvious reality: there is no way I can live in it full-time.  There just isn’t enough storage for me.  First loves are wonderful while they last and always occupy a very special place in one’s heart.  But maturity often brings with it a different perspective.

 

Then we went off to meet my new potential love.  We walked into it and I immediately knew this was the one.  It was big and spacious by RV standards.  I’ve come to realize that “RV standards” are no where near what a house or even small apartment can provide but this one did pretty well with both ample interior and exterior storage.  I asked Steve to drive so I could pay attention to how it felt as he drove and it drove like a dream, smooth and responsive.  Doing 60 mph seemed like we were only doing 40!  No rattling from anything behind us but I did notice that we had to talk a bit louder than in a car to overcome both an increase in motor volume as well as the increased distance between us.  So far, so good.  We were soon back in the parking lot.  My turn.  Okay.  I was nervous as well as excited.  I got behind the wheel.  Deep breath.  I drove around the parking lot!  I felt how it took the turns and adjusted my car driving skills to suit.  Actually, I was surprised how easily I got used to driving something so much bigger than I’ve ever driven in the past.  Another first in my life!

 

Steve told me I did well in the parking lot.  Translation – I didn’t crash into any of the parked RV’s.  He decided it was time for me to go out into the real world and take it for a spin out there.  Gulp!  Off I go!  He asked me if I want to drive on the interstate.  Seriously?  Can we start with something just a little less challenging?  So we make a right turn instead of the left which would have taken us onto the interstate.  My first right hand turn is a total success!  I didn’t kill anyone; nor did I hit any other vehicles or take out any signs!  Yep, total success!

 

Next, a left hand turn.  Easy.  Then another left.  Again, easy.  I am sitting bolt upright in the seat, clearly not relaxed but not horribly stressed either.  Then as if to keep things interesting, at the next left, just as I’m making the turn, the privacy curtain that covers the side and front windows breaks free, evidently not being tied back as it should have been.  Suddenly, as I begin the turn, I cannot see a thing because the curtain is covering the entire window to my left.  Whoa!  Think fast!  There’s a car coming down the road aiming right at us!  I quickly whip my right hand across my body to suddenly yank that sucker back where it should be so I can see!  Did it!  Disaster avoided and Steve complements me on my ability to multitask!  He then gets up and ties back the curtain.

 

Next was a rather narrow two lane road that hasn’t been repaved in quite a while.  It has ruts in it and the wheels got stuck in those ruts.  I had to slow down to make the appropriate corrections otherwise I was too close to the other side of the road.  No problem but it was a  more difficult drive.  Steve told me that this is about as tough as it gets, a narrow road in need of paving.  Two more turns and we are back in the parking lot.  Steve asked me if I wanted to try backing the RV into its parking space.  I tell him I think I’ve had more than enough excitement for the day!  I thought I was going for the less challenging ride!

 

And I loved it!   The excitement, the adrenaline, the high!  The craziness of having the curtain block my view and just handling that potential issue!  I loved it all!  And I totally love the RV!  We sat in it for a while afterwards and I decided to take Picasso out of his carrier.  Steve told me I can let Picasso off leash.  Picasso explored for a few moments and then went nuts!  He flew around the RV like a crazed pup, jumping in his carrier, then out, then in, then out again.  Clearly Steve has never seen a Havanese RLH (run like hell!) and asked me if Picasso is okay.  Okay?  He is more than okay!  He seems ecstatic!  Picasso later told me that he loves our new home and he wants to know when we can move into it!  We have been many places together and I’ve never seen Picasso react with such excitement to a new environment.

 

Stay tuned for the next blog and I’ll introduce you to my newest love!

the search begins

bay-hill-exterior-outline

The Bay Hill 295RL, the fifth wheel that first caught my eye! Click on the photo and you will see the beautiful and spacious interior.

Not long after I made my decision to live in an RV full-time, many questions began to surface:  what size do I want – small, medium or large?  Do I want an “all-in-one” or a towed RV?  My first thought was to go with a fifth wheel, a trailer that hooks up to a pickup truck bed over the rear axle.  This allows for easier towing of a heavier load.  It would be kind of like towing your small apartment behind you.  Would I be able to handle hitching and unhitching?  How would it be to have to get out of the big ol’ pick-up truck when it is raining to set up camp or  in the dark?  What would happen if I had trouble hitching it?  Could I find help?  Then there is the fine art of backing up!  Would I feel safe having to get out of the truck and into the RV if I pulled into a Walmart parking lot for the night?

This is the Airstream International Sterling, the model I fell hard for.  I don't particularly care for the Arctic Dijon color scheme but really like the Obsidian Violet as seen in this photo.

This is the Airstream International Sterling, the model I fell hard for. I don’t particularly care for the Arctic Dijon color scheme but really like the Obsidian Violet as seen in this photo.

 

 

Then I fell in love with the infamous Airstream trailers, sleek, silver and bullet-like.  I immediately knew exactly which model I wanted!  Modern and beautiful, I envisioned living within one without difficulty except possibly for storage.  Ah, I’d remedy that by towing with a cargo van and use that for the additional storage I would need!  But, again, do I really want to tow?

 

 

Leisure Travel Vans’ Unity model, a Class B RV. My preference was for the layout that included twin beds in the rear. My thought was to convert one bed into a desk area.

After reading other blogs, I started to think a smaller RV might be better because it would be easier to drive.  I could pull into smaller campsites and I could actually street park.  Plus, no hitching or unhitching or even a need to buy another vehicle!  I began to consider a small Class C (on a truck chassis) then eventually went even smaller to a Class B (on a van chassis), both “all-in one” RV’s where one can walk directly from driving to the living quarters.  I started to research and, again, found one I loved.

 

I finally went to an RV distributor and looked at some actual, real life RV’s and quickly realized that the smaller RV’s would be too small for me to live in full-time!  So Class B and the smaller Class C’s are out.  Back to the fifth wheel again with its larger living quarters.  Certain realities began to emerge:  I need a real bed because of my back.  Also, during those times when I was having back issues, I need a place to sit that is comfortable.  None of the smaller RV’s offered me both and still had enough storage space.   But another question remains – do I really want to tow?  I’ve read in quite a few places that deciding on the right RV for oneself will, no matter what, require some compromise.   If you get this, you will probably have to give up that.  There is no RV that can do it all.  Okay, I am getting that!

I’m beginning see that this is all about making the compromises that are right for me.  My compromises will be quite different from those of someone else.  I need a full-time bed, a comfortable chair or couch and a kitchen that is very workable with some counter space.  I want a dinette.  But more than anything, I need to find an RV that I can fall in love with!  Falling in love with it would totally help me get past whatever compromises I have to make!  Some items on my list are “needs” and cannot be compromised; others are “wants” with potential wiggle room.  Sounds like a tall order and right now I’m completely confused as to which direction to go in since there are so many pros and cons to each option.  Wonder if I can make this happen.

The search continues…

(Note:  all the RV photos are “live” links and will bring you to the websites of the actual models I’ve been checking out.  You will find more photos as well as the actual layouts there.)

© deborah kauffeld