Happy 100(ish) Days!
Happy 100(ish) days to us! Huzzah! We've officially been on the road for 103 days. We were hoping to get this post out June 10th, our actual 100th day on the road. But we didn't.
We feel like the amount of time we've been on the road is a fair enough accomplishment to commemorate and, if nothing else, has offered us plenty of time to know a thing or two about ourselves and "full-timin'." And, as our friends, we'd be remiss if we didn't share. So, enjoy.
First off, we are definitely a little fish, in terms of house size and experience level. We drank the Airstream Koolaid and wouldn't change a thing, but man...The really nice motorhomes are REALLY nice and really big. While we've genuinely enjoyed the minimalism necessary to live in our 28 foot Flying Cloud, some days it would be nice to have a couple slideouts, a full washer/dryer, a shower one can stand up in, and more than roughly 176 square feet of living space.
Other than those occasional, dimensional longings, we don't have much to complain about and here are some of our highlights.
Setup/Hitching Up/Towing/Backing Up/Breakdown--Basically everything associated with safely hauling and parking your house on a semi-regular basis:
When we hit the road in March 2018, we weren't exactly "prepared" for the "trailering" part of "living" in a "trailer." We bought Boat in October of 2017, picked her up November 2017, sailed her directly to storage, took her out once in January 2018, drove her back to storage without testing the water or even un-hitching, and then one March morning, off we went--having only hitched up on our own once. As will be a recurring theme, we were determined to learn as we went. And learn we did. Sam compiled several comprehensive lists and we've been able to trim the setup/breakdown time in half. We're still mastering the sway bars, and backing in, but navigating America's highways is no longer the stuff of nightmares.
Black Tank 101
This is so easy*. It's shockingly simple and not nearly as gross as we imagined--pretty much like trailer life in general. Three steps: 1) Put on rubber gloves. 2) Attached one end of sewer house to flush valve and the other to sewer hole. 3) Flush tank.
*With one significant caveat--we have a standing no poop/no TP rule so we're basically just flushing slightly yellow water.
During the purchase process, we passed on the option to have an additional clear coat added to Boat's exterior for a cool $110 a foot. While this "deal" would have prevented the need to wax the exterior for seven years, it just didn't quite seem worth it. A quick google search found a much more economically friendly solution--Walbernize. Specially designed for RVs and Airstreams, this magical product only needs to be applied twice a year and runs about $8.50 an application. Plus, it gave Pete an excuse to use our collapsable ladder and pretend like he knew what he was doing at the Desert Hot Springs KOA.
Our Stuff Actually Fits
Other than having to leave some of our favorite kitchenwares behind, this was pretty easy. We were living in a 750 sq foot apartment to begin with so downsizing wasn't that difficult. Turns out Pete still overpacked as he only wears shorts and one of three t-shirts on any given day.
We went into this thinking that once the journey ended we would have found the perfect plot of land, with the associated privacy and quiet. What we've learned so far, is that we still want those things, but we're willing to have a little less land in exchange for a few more creature comforts. We don't need a Starbucks on every corner or a part of town dedicated specifically to any one subculture, but we need access to proper groceries and legit sundries.
We started this trek hoping to make it at least three weeks, and as we took to it, that goal quickly became three years. We're still not positive how long the adventure will last, but we have the east coast in our sights for 2019 and a sweet southwestern swing on 2020's radar. So while we reserve the right to table flip our appropriately sized table at any point, three years is the early over/under and has a nice ring to it.
By the time we hit the road, working from home was old hat for Sam. And...let's just say it's taken Pete a little while to get used to it. His new company is great and fully embraces our lifestyle, but Pete finds himself still looking for errands to run at lunch time to replace the office rounds to which he'd grown accustom. That said, it will be quite difficult for either one of us to go back to the traditional office environment once our run is up.
Like the lifestyle, it's a work in progress. We're learning to specialize in one (or two) pot dinners and that it's okay if we make a third of what we used to make back in Seattle. So the waistlines are doing fine, but we're still building out our repertoire. Only salient point on this topic is the cleaning. Without a garbage disposal and being water conscious, doing the dishes takes at least as long as it does to make dinner regardless of how many pots we use.
Weekdays are pretty typical. 6am wake up, hunt down or make some coffee (for Pete) and tea (for Sam) and then on our machines from 8-5. We thought we'd venture out to more coffee shops during work hours, but we enjoy the trailer. Pete works on the work table, Sam works from the couch, Dog waffles from cuddles on the couch to feet schnuggles under the table.
We prefer a Saturday departure with usually no more than 6 hours on the road.
We've averaged about a two week stay in the cities we've visited, with three week stints reserved for favorites (Santa Barbara, Whitefish).
Sam has our route mapped out for the next 8 months, with reservations out 6 months. We like it this way, it's nice to have a plan, a budget, an expectation - with an understanding that a park cancellation is usually at most $10 and we can change plans pretty easily (i.e. Adding a week to our Vegas stint at the expense of Kanab #zionisbetteranyway).
We're RV Park people. Meaning, we enjoy the extra amenities that come with an RV Park that don't necessarily offer themselves at a campground. We need the internet, we need facilities that skew clean, we enjoy free showers with endless hot water, we've found much more privacy being surrounded by other full-timers, and to quote Lloyd Christmas: "I guess they're right. Senior citizens, although slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose." (#sorrymom)
Things We've Yet To Do
Shower in the 'stream. Sam's hair is too long, and the facilities have been so nice we haven't had to.
Boondock. We'll get there! Just give us a minute! We're not too concerned about it, we just haven't, "found the right opportunity," as we need to be hooked up for work. Maybe Thanksgiving...?
Things We've Bought
1 1/2 Quart Crueset - We needed a "one pot" that didn't make too many leftovers.
Fire Bowl - Connects to one of our two propane tanks and gives you that campfire feel without the pesky campfire smell.
Removable Wallpaper -- "Removable..." But it looks great and we had a great bonding experience over its application.
Things We Changed
Dinette -- Boat came with a stock, four person dinette. We removed that bad boy and created substantially more living space.
Television -- Out with the standard 29" and in with the 39" Vizio. Seriously, size matters.
Wallpaper -- we needed some color in our otherwise simple interior. Bonus points were awarded for killing the second TV that didn't even connect to the Blu-ray player.
Faucet -- We had to tinker with something in the kitchen and changing out the dated, low profile faucet with one that actually functions was a no brainer.
Curtains -- Let's just say that Sam had a strong opinion about how loud and inconvenient the bedroom blinds were--so we switched them for curtains.
Things We Brought And Have Yet To Use
Immersion blender -- It's gonna be sweet to have...Promise.
Gastro Scale -- We got rid of some of the other gastronomy products, but we just can’t part with the scale. It's not a triple beam dream, but it weighs weights like a pro (so we've heard).
Hair Straightener -- Pete's a little gun-shy...
Jeans -- HA. We brought 3 pairs each and have worn them once, combined.
Things We Should Have Brought
REI Shell -- We lost sight of how easy it was to pack jackets that either hang or collapse on themselves. We have plenty of jeans, though...
More Socks -- Ditto.
Things We Miss
Friends & Family -- Legit. We miss you guys.
Grocery Stores -- Good ones. We're trying real hard to not be bougie about deli counters and cured meat selections, but the struggle is real.
Asian Supermarkets -- Don't get us started on how difficult it is to find on-demand Lap Cheong
Ethnic Cuisine -- Do the math...
Things That Haven't Gone Perfectly
Wallpaper -- Looks good in photos, but like we said, "...a bonding experience."
Cell Reception / Cell Booster -- Like politics, we need a third party that will cover the gaps the major two don't care about. We rock unlimited data for both AT&T and Verizon, with one of the best signal boosters on the market, and we still have to hunt for good service in certain locations (even before throttling).
Boat's ACs -- This is a funny one...We're lucky to have two AC units and they've already paid off in spades; especially in Vegas and Zion. However, the censor for each unit is located in a different/wrong part of trailer. So it took a decent amount of finagling to set each thermostat to the appropriate temp before we felt comfortable leaving dog alone in what could have been an aluminum sweatbox. We got it sorted, but we may have had a few tonal conversations with each other getting there.
Smoke alarm -- This damn thing...I know it saves lives, but can't a person slightly burn one piece of bacon without waking up the whole park?!
Dog's medicine -- This was an unforeseen wrinkle. We never had a problem in Seattle, but once we hit the road, the sweet pup of ours developed a pee pee problem. Apparently it's a common issue with the breed, particularly after spaying, but man... Initially we treated the symptoms and bought doggy pee pads in bulk while resigning to an every other hour potty run. Then we came to our senses and hooked up a Proin prescription--haven't had a real accident since we started. #Science
One of the best parts of our adventures with a boat and a dog, is being able to share it with our friends and family. Thank you for the love and support. Also, come visit.