It’s been an exhausting 6 months preparing for full time RV life, but we made it. So what was our first week like?
Well first things first…on the road with 2 cats and a dog, how is that going to work? Despite the calming drugs the Vet gave us for the cats we had cat vomit and poop 10 minutes into the trip. You can’t just pull over with a 42’ fifth wheel in tow, so I fortunately had packed a ‘clean up’ bag of supplies. Lysol wipes, paper towels and poop bags to the rescue. Oh and a litter box for any additional issues. I got it all cleaned up and eliminated the smell before Nick got too grossed out. Parker remained pretty content in his crate so decided to leave him in there despite his mess. Leo wasn’t too sure about having to share the back seat with his brothers but he just chilled and Baloo spent most of the ride on my lap sleeping. So all in all a success in our book. We survived a 2.5 hour drive our first time out.
What is it like to drive a 42’ fifth wheel and a 3500 RAM dually down the road? Well that is Nick’s department but I have to say it was pretty smooth. It was a piece of cake getting the big rig out of the back parking lot where it had been parked the last three months and out of the narrow driveway of our old house. I knew Nick was nervous for no reason. We planned our first destination to a MN park we are familiar with so the stress of the first drive out would be minimal. So glad we did! The RAM drove like a champ. Didn’t run into any major construction or traffic and rolled into the dump station with ease (ok maybe we went over our first curb while pulling in).
Why stop at the dump station? Well our first venture out is at a state park where you only get electric hook-ups. So despite our RV being our home, it’s a bit more like camping these first couple of weeks. Trying to use the water sparingly, and use the vault toilet or bath house for those #2 needs. Oh, and cold showers at the bath house. And, lesson learned, when filling your water tanks be sure to check all your low point drains before turning on the water pump. Yep, that’s right…let’s say we ended up with about half the water we spent 30 minutes at the dump station to fill. So rather than close up the RV, hook up and go across the street to fill again, we are conserving water the best we can and siphoning into our tanks as needed from the near by spigot.
So how did our belongings travel in the RV? I was pleasantly surprised to open up the RV and slides to no real issues. Some things moved around a bit on the floor but nothing major. Good thing Nick told me to watch the slides as we put them out because a pair of shoes slid out from under the stairs cubby and would have locked up the slide had we not seen them and got them out of the way. The wine bottles and glass items all survived thanks to a bottle crate we purchased at The Container Store and some cabinet liner that I placed between the glasses in the cabinet. Interestingly all the glass beer bottles were unscathed in the fridge, but almost every egg was broken in the carton. Setting up the RV took a bit. I can tell I will quickly be simplifying even more so I have less to situate every time we setup.
What about the most important thing of all? Internet! Nick’s mission after settling in was to get internet set up as I had to work the next day. Well…despite all the reviews online saying Verizon and Sprint are available in the park, we had nothing. It did appear I had ATT working on my phone but my hot spot gets me about 4G of data which won’t last me long. So day 1 of working on the road was done at the local coffee shop where I could use their WiFi. I have to say I didn’t mind as I treated myself to a yummy coffee, breakfast and lunch and got to enjoy the hustle and bustle of a small town coming in and out of the shop all day. Nick took this first day to venture to Rochester and get us an ATT data plan to supplement my phone and hot spot. And he rigged up a large pole to extend the Router above the height of our RV rooftop to try and get better signal. I worked from the RV the rest of the week. I had a few drops but found if I do my teams calls through my phone for audio and connect via my laptop for viewing then if my laptop drops I can still participate with audio.
Next up…final visit to the Mayo for Nick’s wrist. X-rays look good and Nick was so thrilled to throw both his casts in the garbage! That chapter is done. 12 weeks of no right hand and trying to make this life change was insane and a huge mental and emotional undertaking. And he did it! Mission accomplished. Now onto daily stretches and exercises to get back his range of motion and strength. It’s going to be a couple months I am sure before Nick is 100% but he is well on his way already. So grateful.
And here come the weekenders! So that was us last year, hitting up the campgrounds for the weekend. We fell in love with it, obviously, cause here we are now full time. It was interesting being on the flip side this year. We basically had the park to ourselves for four days and suddenly there are campers in every site, kids everywhere and dogs barking like mad. It took a little adjusting to share our space with everyone but is so fun to see all the families and outdoor enthusiasts enjoying MN Summer and all its beauty.
Time for some rest. After the last 6 months of insanity, we gave ourselves a free pass this weekend. Time to sleep in. Time to just sit, go slow, not have a plan, enjoy each other, enjoy the outdoors and slowly make progress on organizing our new home one container at a time.
What about the fur babies? All the boys are settling in great. It took a couple days, but the cats have found their respect spaces. Parker on Nick’s office chair or gym bag and Baloo in his bed next to my office or outside in the tent. And Leo has his very own couch and is enjoying the frequent walks around the campground meeting new people. We did have a scare on day 3 that we lost Parker already. Thought he must have slipped outside while the door was open. But eventually we learned he is able to squeeze down the side of the bed slide out. Now we know where to look first.
What has been the best purchase so far? The Dyson Cordless Vacuum has been a life saver. We are vacuuming animal hair multiple times a day. It is powerful, light weight and easy to maneuver! Loving it. And, the outdoor tent is awesome. We can keep all the boys in there with us, keep the gnats and flies out and keep our outdoor items outside and dry. Great purchase.
Well that about covers some of the highlights from the first week. We are so incredibly grateful for this adventure and look forward to continuing to take you all along with us.
Tonia & Nick