After having traveled through this country with my family for over a year I thought I would write about some of the highlights of our adventure. However after thinking about what I would write I realized that it would be a very extensive article since we have been able to do so many awesome things this past year. I also realized that our website is filled with articles about the amazing places we have been and you could easily go to anyone of those to read about some cool places we have traveled to. Instead I decided I would highlight some of the difficulties we have encountered after a year of living full time on the road. Because we all know that it can’t always be like a vacation when it’s our life. So let me tell you about some of the challenges we have faced that were unexpected and some of the things we dislike about life on the road.
Laundry is one of those never ending chores (no matter how much you do there is always more!) and I got a lot of questions about how we were going to get the job done once we were living on the road full time. It was something I had definitely taken into consideration before we took the leap to live full time in our travel trailer since I had no experience doing laundry anywhere but in my house. The information, however; was limited, I couldn’t find anything about the cost of doing laundry at a laundromat or a campground or how to find these places. So after having done laundry for a family of five while full time living in our travel trailer I thought I would share my experience for others who might also be considering this lifestyle.
Almost every full timer makes some modifications to their living space. We talked with another couple that had the same model trailer as us and they had a few mods to show us. I decided to show our mods to him and we both walked away with plans to make future modifications. It got me to thinking that our mods might help someone else planning on full timing or satisfy someones curiosity about life on the road. After you read this please feel free to comment suggestions for additional mods that would help us or questions if you want technical information on how to do the mod yourself.
Cars, like homes, always need maintenance and it can be tricky finding good auto shops while traveling. The plan was to replace the tires when we were in Texas, but we wore them out faster than anticipated. While driving in ABQ, as the locals call Albuquerque, we started having a bumpy ride and were worried the transmission was acting up. It turned out to be the rear passenger tire crying out that it was on it’s last leg. The next morning I slowly limped the car to the tire shop and went
ahead and purchased four new tires. I had called and arranged it beforehand, so I didn’t think it would be a huge ordeal. Unfortunately the workers at the tire center seemed to be having a hard time doing their job right. Even with an appointment it took many hours because they accidentally ordered the wrong set of tires. Before the car entered the shop one of the workers drove someone’s car into ours. Lucky for us (but not them) it only damaged the other customers car. The shop was nice enough to give me forty dollars off for the inconvenience they had caused.
We also had to get an oil change while we were in Albuquerque and they also took a few hours even though our car was in the bay immediately! Apparently they didn’t have the right filter and had to have someone drive it over. So the lesson is, don’t get any auto work in Albuquerque or if you have to, then be prepared for a twenty minute job to take several hours.
Life on the road is very similar to life at home in many respects. Stuff happens and it has to be dealt with. The big difference is being somewhere unfamiliar makes finding a store a little tricky sometimes. You never know what problems will spring up and it isn’t the problems in your life that define you; rather it is your reaction to the problems and how you handle them. Continue reading
Up until this point in our adventure we have been pretty lucky and had very little go wrong. A few missed turns and an ear ache have been the only real negative things to happen. When we went to break camp in Pleasant Lake Michigan we had a serious disaster happen.
Everything was going very smooth with the hitch up procedure and both Sarah and I were thinking that it was going very fast. Then we backed up to get off the leveling chocks. That was when we realized our major error; we didn’t raise the electric jack! Since it was still on the ground it bent the tube that extends to the ground. I tried to take the jack off so we could leave to buy another, but the bend in the metal tubing made it impossible to take off.
Life has a way of resolving itself though and fate saved us on that day. Our neighbor was a nice man from a few miles away who quickly became our hero. I had befriended him the night before when he asked me to keep an eye on his fire while he ran home to get more firewood. When he returned he gave us enough wood for a roaring fire for the night. In the mornings we said our goodbyes until we damaged our jack and were stuck. Then he jumped in and saved the day for us. He helped me work on getting the hitch off and went home to get a come along to pry the bar straight enough to take off. He also helped soothe our mental wounds with stories about both him and his brother doing the same thing.
This incident was difficult and humbling to say the least, but it was also uplifting. It restored my faith in humanity which was in a desperate state after all that has happened in the last few years. Because of our neighbor stepping in and helping us, we only had to pay for a new electric jack. The owner of the RV parts dealer took pity on me and gave me $50 off, so the total cost was only $150. A bad incident for sure, but it could have been much worse. My father always taught me that everyone makes mistakes and that it is ok, but we should learn from those mistakes. Only time will tell if we learned to hitch up properly everytime, but doubting the goodness of mankind is one mistake I won’t make again. A few bad apples don’t spoil the batch as long as you take the bad apples out of your life!