if you don’t like your view, just wait a day or two

I’ve visited places where the locals say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes.” In other words, if you can be a little bit patient, change is sure to come. I’ve been thinking about this concept of frequent change as it has a strong application to our lives right now.

We are winding down toward Tennessee in a rather quick fashion hoping to meet the fall colors in the Smokey Mountains sometime in mid-October. Currently, we are in St. Louis, Missouri. The last two weeks have seen the bulk of our forward movement–every few days moving another few hundred miles.

Making decisions about where we will park the RV while in-route has been interesting. While the Internet often has a wealth of information to offer, (spoiler alert) it’s not always accurate. A few days ago we were parked in New Salem, IL as the only RV in a cul-de-sac type row surrounded by trees and quiet beauty. While we didn’t have an electric hookup, we were close enough to connect to water and the $10/night price was just right.

Upon arriving to the St. Louis RV park we’d planned to stay in, we discovered that Google had neglected to mention that they were closed for the season. A quick internet search and a few phone calls later, we decided to stay at the only place we could find with full-hookups that wasn’t in the $50/night range. Plus the online reviews stated things like, “The new owners are really great” “So clean and peaceful. . . we will make this a yearly tradition” “Safe, clean and family friendly” and “Very clean and close to town” so we entered the address into our phones and off we went to Trail’s End.

google

Now let me preface all that I am about to say with this: I am not an RV park snob. As long as we feel safe, I have no problem staying in ‘cheep’ establishments in order to save some money. However, based on the nightly price and many 5 star reviews, I honestly had a different expectation set in my mind than what I saw when we pulled into Trail’s End RV park. “Oh my” is all that came out of my mouth. Someone was clearly tickling the online reviews for this place.

trails-end

Thankfully, my husband is becoming a master at backing into tight spaces because there was no room for error. I was hardly much help in directing him because the neighbor lady had my full attention. She was yelling and shouting at her kids and the closest nearby adults. I am pretty sure she was yelling at me at one point in which I simply responded, “I don’t work here.” Despite my husbands fantastic rear navigation, the sites are so short that there is hardly any room to park our car and truck without jutting out into the circular dive area of the park. This should be fine provided no one needs to drive by pulling anything long while needing to turn. . . Once we were situated, I began to open up the 5th wheel by extending the slideouts. At first we were a little concerned if we would have room to do this without hitting our truck which was wedged between our RV and the next one over, but all was fine. However, the weather was pretty warm so I decided to extend our awning to provide some shade. Oh, there’s the neighbor’s side right there. . . never mind about the awning. We also step carefully as we walk to our vehicles (which are parked conveniently close) as to not trip over our neighbor’s sewer hose.

Tonight it became apparent that there was some sort of motor raceway located nearby as a sound like that of a swarm of bees swept over the campground ebbing and flowing throughout the evening. Trent and I keep exchanging looks and teasing comments. Its comical especially given the stark contrast to our little New Salem spot just a few nights ago.

trails-end2
Notice the sewer hose?

As I lay in bed with the unique hum of engines revving outside my window, I am reminded that we always have something to be thankful for. Here I have electricity, which means I can freely run my washing machine as well as the air conditioning and microwave (all at the same time if desired) without overloading our batteries or generator. Here it is still $20/night cheaper than the other options in the area that offer full hookups. Here there is no hurricane hurling toward us with powerful destructive intent. Here is only “here” for a little longer and then we will shake the dust of this place off our feet and march forward to something new. In our family, “if you don’t like your view, just wait a day or two.”

RV catches on fire

If there is one thing I have learned to count on while living in an RV it is that no two days are ever the same.

Life around us is always introducing new experiences. Last night it was a RV that caught on fire.

Thankfully, it happened before the couple went to bed for the night.

Thankfully, they (and their dog) got out safely.

Thankfully, the fire didn’t spread to the neighboring RV (which got moved as soon as possible) or the nearby trees.

Thankfully, we have a close and responsive fire department.

RV catches on fire

However, no number of thankful things can erase the fact that this was a devastating situation for the owners of the motor home.

It is believed that there was some sort of electrical malfunction in the back of the diesel pushing rig. The owners were watching TV and felt a strange shaking almost like their dryer was running. Moments later there was a popping sound and a fire had started. They were able to escape with their little dog and the clothing on their backs.

RV after the fire
After the fire

You can be sure we will be reviewing our fire safety routines after this sad situation.

How to install a Maxxfan deluxe in your RV

 

Even though we purchased a new RV (click here for our video tour), there are still modifications we would like to do to make it even better.  We are upgrading the battery pack and installing an inverter so we can dry camp longer, adding a washer/dryer, beefing up the master bedroom closet, and upgrading the ventilation system. Today I’ll walk you through the changes we made with the ventilation system.

Why we decided to install a fan

Our Coachmen Brookstone 395RL RV came with a passive vent in the loft area. A passive vent is basically a screened hole in the roof that allows heat to escape. We wanted a vent/fan system that would move air in or out depending on our preference. After researching the options we choose to install a Maxxfan deluxe because it moves more air than the leading competitors and there’s a built-in rain cover so we can operate it while its raining (other fans require a separate rain cover to allow simultaneous operation).

Cute little helpers

The Maxxfan install process

I videoed the process of installing our fan in order to show you some of the steps that I felt were missing from some of the other videos I found online (such as how to find and connect to the 12v electrical system). I hope you will find it helpful if you decide to take on a similar project. I invite you to watch the video and if you have any questions feel free to post them here or on YouTube and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Note: At the beginning of the Maxxfan install video I talk about a few verses in Proverbs that encourage me. I am not a proponent of the prosperity gospel. I’m not saying that if you give, you will be wealthy monetarily. Giving is simply a response to what has already been given so abundantly to us. Even if you don’t feel rich or can barely make ends meet each month, look at your life through the lens of someone living on a few dollars a day. Its pretty easy to see how everyone living in a 1st world country can say they are “rich”.

Our thoughts on our fan now that we have used it

We have been using our Maxxfan for over a month now and have been completely pleased with the amount of air that we are able to move through our RV because of this one change. At this point in the year we are using it mostly at night to pull the cool evening air into the RV while we sleep and it has been highly effective. We have also found that it is very quiet (especially compared to the fan in our bathroom vent). This is appreciated especially given its proximity to two of our children who sleep in the loft where it was installed.

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Family Adventure Podcast interview

faithtakesflightfamilyadventurepodcastToday I had the privilege of being interviewed by Eric Hemingway for his Family Adventure Podcast. Listening to his show has been like a gateway drug for our wanderlust hearts as we have prepared for living full-time in an RV so it was an honor to be a guest on his show. In this interview I talk about how we prepared financially. I discuss homeschooling and what was hard about that transition. I share details on downsizing and the difficulties that we faced in that area. Finally, I speculate what the next year might look like for us. I invite you to click here to listen to the interview.

Show notes:
I mentioned the author Robert Kyiosaki and his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Another book that was helpful to us that didn’t get mentioned was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. The homeschooling book that I refer to is 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy. The website Fulltime Famlies and it’s facebook group is also mentioned.
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top 6 RV bathroom tips

Sharing one bathroom between the six of us was an uncharted territory for our family before moving into our RV full-time. I wasn’t sure if it would simply require habit transitions or if it would truly be inconvenient. Although we have had some close calls, we are all surviving just fine!

Now that we have been in the RV for about two months, I’ll share the top the 6 tips and tricks that have worked well for us: Continue reading “top 6 RV bathroom tips”