Yesterday marked another milestone in the start of our adventures, as it was Dave’s last day at work as a bus driver for the city. I think he really enjoys driving the big busses and is going to miss it. But now, he can drive our big motor coach.
We have pinpointed Monday, October 13 as our departure date. Our plan, should Mother Nature not intervene, is to head to Philadelphia and New Jersey to visit friends and family. After that we’ll travel to North Carolina to visit more family and then onward to Florida for the winter. Both of us are looking forward to a winter that does not include snow, ice, and heavy clothing. Hopefully our aches and pains will be left behind once we hit warmer weather. Fall is already in the air here in Bloomington, Indiana and there’s actually a frost warning out for this evening. Brrrr…..and it’s only October!
We’ve had several people inquire about our new life, so we thought we would compile those questions, along with our answers, and list them here in case someone else was wondering as well. If you have questions you’d like to ask, feel free to send them to us and we’ll be more than happy to answer them.
What is it like living in an RV?
It’s very different from living in a house. It takes some thought and organizational skills in order to efficiently maximize space as much as possible. The biggest compromise is that you are often moving one thing to get to something else.
Our old life consisted of a 2,800 square foot house that had 3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 bathrooms, an office, 4 walk-in closets along with a walk in kitchen pantry, laundry room, 2-car garage, and a porch as well as a sunroom.
Our new life consists of a 40’ RV that has less than 300 square feet and has one bedroom and one bathroom. Dave’s office consists of a folding TV table, and my office is either my lap or the kitchen table when I’m paying bills. Both of us share one closet that is approximately 6-feet in length. Our kitchen pantry is now approximately 3’ x 3’, but we also have other cupboards that we utilize for groceries. We chose not to have a washer/dryer installed (although the plumbing is there for it, should we ever change our minds) as we would lose a lot of storage space in our bedroom. We use the campground Laundromats instead. Our awning area serves as our porch and the vast outdoors is our sunroom. The “basement” of the RV (various storage compartments) serves the needs of our garage, minus the car, of course.
Cooking is also different. I’m used to an electric range/convention oven; however, the stove top unit in the RV is propane and the oven is a microwave/convention oven. Both of these take some getting used to, but I’m working on it. So far I’ve only set the smoke alarm off twice LOL
What kinds of maintenance issues are there to deal with?
Dave and I divide the maintenance issues between us. I take care of the inside of the unit, minus any repair issues that are beyond my scope. Cleaning still needs to be done, whether it’s a 2,800 square foot house, or a 40’ RV. The big difference is that there is a tremendous variation in the amount of time that it takes to clean. If I just dust and vacuum, I’m done in 15-minutes; add in scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom floor, along with cleaning the bathroom, and I’ve increased the time by another 15-minutes. That leaves the rest of the day to enjoy lounging in the sunroom.
Dave takes care of the outside of the unit which includes empting and flushing out the holding tanks on a weekly basis. Tire pressure and airbag (levelling system) pressure needs to be checked occasionally and, if needed, pumped back up, as well as re-checking the leveling of the coach and checking all the fluid levels in the engine, battery and generator compartments. Dave recently washed the top of the RV. I had every intention of helping him; however, the climb up the ladder to the top of the roof was too much for me and I had to get down (I’m afraid of heights, although I did attempt to climb up to the roof twice). I’ll help with future washings of the outside of the RV; however, I’ll do the sides while he does the top.
What will do you do about doctors, medications?
We intend to return to Indiana as needed for our doctors’ appointments. The reasons for this are that: 1) we really like the doctors that we have and; 2) we don’t want to lose the level of care that we’ve been receiving. If we should need care during our journey, then we’ll have to go to a prompt care facility or the ER, whichever the need would dictate.
Medications, as long as they’re not a scheduled substance, can be refilled at any national pharmacy chain (CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, etc.) throughout the country.
Do you miss living in a house or any of your stuff?
We actually do NOT miss living in a house as the simplicity of living in a RV is so much nicer and the cost of living is substantially less.
As I noted earlier in one of my posting, neither Dave nor I miss any of the stuff that we used to own. It’s actually been a very freeing experience.
What will you miss most once you leave Indiana?
Without a doubt, we will miss our friends. Dave and I have had been fortunate to create friendships with some really wonderful people here in Indiana.
There are so many friends (whom I affectionally refer to as “my peeps”) that I am going to miss, that I’m afraid to list them all for fear of accidently missing someone. Each one of you though know how I feel about you. I’m truly blessed to have each one of you in my life.
Dave is going to miss playing music with Candy, Dale and Russ, in their band ‘Crazy Mixed up World’ (search at Reverbnation.com) and going out to the range with Seth. Dave will undoubtedly miss his hobby of repairing and modifying guitars and basses as we no longer have the space for the tools/inventory he used to keep.
Technology has advanced so that we can keep in contact with them and, having created this blog site, it will give them a chance to travel with us and share in our experiences. We would be more than happy to have our friends join us, where ever we are, should their vacation plans allow them to do so.
What has been the most difficult thing that both of you have had to deal with so far?
Adapting to change and the anticipation of the unknown. Previous to this, we had everything planned and scheduled to the minute detail. Not to say that we will be living minute to minute henceforward. We have been researching our near term trips, i.e., checking roads, rest stops, fuel and propane stops and ultimately, our destinations.
Are there any creature comforts (internet, TV, etc.) that either one of you have had to give up?
We don’t think that we’ve had to give up any “creature comforts” per-say. We’ve had to re-adjust some of them in order for them to work for us, but we really haven’t had to give anything up. As an example, we had to give up cable television which is a much more reliable media and switch to satellite television. Satellite TV, if you have not experienced it before, can be very fickle in windy and stormy conditions, which means that generally when it’s a really windy or stormy day, watching television is not going to be an option as you’ll be unable to acquire a satellite connection. When that happens, we can pop in a DVD, read a book, play a board game, or connect to the internet.
As far as the internet goes, we’ll rely on free Wi-Fi service that a lot of campgrounds offer. For added security, or for campgrounds that do not offer internet service, we’ve purchased a Mi-Fi so that we can connect to the internet. Our printer is also Wi-Fi enabled, which means that we do not to have printer cords running all over the floor. We can print documents from inside or outside of the motor coach.
Do you see yourselves continuing this for a long time or is this something that you’ll do for a couple of years and then return to household living?
Well, we’d like to think that we can do this forever, but neither one of us know what the future has in store for us. If we are both mentally and physically able to continue with this lifestyle, then we will. If not, then we’ll re-evaluate at that time and decide what to do from that point forward.
How are your cats adjusting to the new life?
After we sold our house, and prior to moving into the motor coach, we had to rent an apartment for a short amount of time. Alvin and Waddles both hated the apartment, but once we moved into the motor coach, they adjusted extremely well.
Alvin gets to go outside on his leash a couple of times a day. He likes to eat the grass and roll around on the concrete pad. He’s tried to chase a couple of birds, but that didn’t work out too well, and once he came nose-to-nose with a fellow camper’s dog. That was interesting as Alvin had never experienced meeting a dog before. Thankfully both the dog and Alvin behaved themselves and both continued on their merry ways.
Waddles, who does not like the outdoors, enjoys sunning herself on the dashboard or curling up in our bed for a VERY LONG snooze! We just recently put her favorite kitty bed on the dashboard so she’d have somewhere soft to lie while sunning. She seems to like this quite well.