Category Archives: Starting Out

Three Rules to Follow

#1. I am always right. Well, maybe not always, but 99% of the time, especially when it comes to where NOT to take the RV.

#2 Always check for wind advisories.

#3 Don’t assume everyone does warranty work with the warranty you have.

So rule #1 came about when we were leaving LaGrange, heading toward Oxford, Alabama to get new tires and some work done on the RV. I noticed the Jeep was really low on gas, so I called Keith and let him know I needed to stop. The next Chevron station was ahead, but I let him know it had steep entry/exits so he should either keep driving & I will catch up, or hang out in the Walmart parking lot that was a 1/2 mile down the road. So what does Keith do?  Why – he pulls in to the tiny corner gas station with impressively graded entry points of course. Keith figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. I (correctly) assumed it would. I gassed up, he pulls out and CRUNCH SCREECH STOP. The hitch was now imbedded into the gravel. Keith, now being halfway out of the lot, is blocking traffic. Shit. Next thought: I think I might just kill him.

I hop out of the Jeep and go to the front of the motorhome and start directing traffic around it. I may not look too imposing, but when I put up my hand to tell the cars to stop, they stopped. When I said go, they went. Maybe they saw the expression on my face. We left the key to the hitch at home, so there was no unlocking it from the RV to see if that helped.  Keith tries to back up and spins the tires – goes nowhere. The storm cloud over my head darkens. He then decides to just drive though it. That works, but leaves a lovely gouge in the pavement. Next thought: What is considered justifiable homicide?  I went back to the Jeep, grabbed my purse and went into the store to tell someone there what had happened. The owner took a look, and decided it wasn’t nearly as bad as I described. No property damage report. No damage to the RV and tbd on the hitch. If you ask me it looks a tad wonky.

I called Keith and asked him where he was and he had wisely kept driving towards our final destination. With time to cool down, the entire incident was summed up in one sentence: ‘We won’t last a week fulltiming if this is going to be the norm’.  At least now he realizes what the RV cannot do – and what drives me batty. 🙂

Rule #2. Wind Advisories and high profile RV’s do not mix. I know, duh. But we really are not in the habit of checking weather when we drive somewhere – at least not as religiously as we need to be. So while this part was a little less dramatic – Keith swayed some, and hit some gusts, we still learned a lesson. On the plus side, it wasn’t HORRIBLE driving in 15-25 mph winds with gusts to 35, but it’s not what we would call ideal.

Rule #3. Another bit of  a duh moment. When we bought the RV, the owners were nice enough to let us know there is an extended warranty and provided us the transfer paperwork. We read over the info & it said to take the RV to authorized service center. Ok, we can do that. So when we decided to put on new tires, we passed long a list of items we were having issues with. Our generator cuts off if you turn on a light, the awning doesn’t stay extended, some lights do not work (and a bulb change didn’t do anything), a leak in the hydraulic jacks — good stuff like that. Anyway, we have no problems while we are chatting with the guy about the work order, and then I mention we do have a warranty. “Oh, well do you know who it is with? Because we don’t work will all warranty companies.” Crap. It ended okay, with it being one of the approved ones, but we didn’t even think about it. We aren’t really big warranty people – so it didn’t even occur to us. Now it will.

I am sure we will have an abundance of ‘rules to follow’ as we get more involved in RVing and definitely when we fulltime. I am sure we will run into situations that will have me steaming with rage. (luckily in my old age I don’t get nearly as angry, as long!) It’s all part of the fun of doing something new & different. Right?

 

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Our O’Day Sailboat is Sitting At The Road…

…Ready for another owner. As we downsize and sell off or donate things, most items are pretty easy to part with. We have a lot of ‘extra’ stuff that doesn’t really tug at the heartstrings. But this little boat that kept us afloat in the mean waters of Lake Ontario does a little tug. We had high hopes of sailing her more than we did, and we didn’t even get a chance to put her in the water down south (thank you broken leg!) We purchased the boat as a test for a long term plan. Keith had always been excited about sailing around the world, and while I thought it was a cool idea, didn’t really think I could do it. I started searching for blog to read about experiences and stumbled upon Handley Sail. Here was an older couple that were sailing around the world and having the most amazing adventures! (I highly recommend starting with year 1, they are on year 5 now and a few months from finally getting home to spend time with the grandbabies) Keith found it funny when I would pop into his office and say things like ‘ OH MY GOD, THEY HIT A WHALE’, or ‘The Handleys got caught in fishing nets in the middle of the ocean’, or ‘How cool! They are visiting with gorillas today’ When I broke my leg last year, I had to search to read again how she managed ON A BOAT with a broken leg. As you can tell, these people I have never met are my heroes. Keith appreciates them too because sailing around the world wasn’t nearly as crazy of a concept anymore.

So we bought a little 22 foot O’Day and sailed her on Lake Ontario for a few years. We had some scary moments trying to learn on such unpredictable waters & winds – but it was exhilarating. The bad thing? We couldn’t take our animals on an extended trip so we were on a 10 year plan of being ‘normal’ until we could take off. One of the things I was determined to do was to see the USA before we left, since I remain skeptical that if we leave, we would come back often. While we have both done a great deal of traveling & have seen the majority of states, there is still so much to see in this country! Enter Keith’s crazy idea #2. Living in an RV.

Take the animals in the RV? check – we can do that! See the rest of the country – check – we can do that in an RV! Work contracts until we can figure out how to work totally remote – check!  So here we are, on a countdown to RV fulltiming by the end of the year. Sadly, that means the evidence of Dream #1 has to go. The dream is still around though, and that is what matters. We hope someone will buy ‘Prelude’ and take very good care of her.


Campground Notes – R Shaefer Heard at West Point Lake

For our second shakedown trip, we decided to just head a few miles down the road to West Point Lake. There are a few campgrounds around the lake, but we stuck to the Georgia side and stayed at R Shaefer Heard, one of the largest. This park is affiliated with the Army Corp of Engineers and if we can find parks like this to stay at, we would be happy campers indeed!

We stayed at spot #39 and loved it. If you are looking to be social, or want a clear view of the lake – this might not be the spot for you. However, if you want to feel like you are the only one in the park (outside the people driving by and the motorboats that is) this is a fabulous spot. Drive through site with more than enough room for your tow (and then some) –  we had thick trees separating us from any other spots, and a short walk to the lake. This spot does have a pretty severe dropoff when you get to the lake however as a warning!

This isn’t the only great spot however – we found the majority of them to be spacious with great views. Some have decks you can use, all seem kept up and level. Many require backing down a hill and have size limitations, but we found that recreation.gov listed the maximum length for each spot. We even saw some people bring their boats right up to the camping spot which was pretty cool.

We were here in early March, so it wasn’t super busy. I can see how this could become quite the party central in the summer with the lake, but it was rather serene when we visited. Sites do not have sewer so come prepared tank -wise. This was our first time at a dumping station and there seemed to be quite a bit of room for lines (even though it throats down rather early making it a little more difficult for people to navigate), and two dump stations available making our wait while leaving minimal.

All in all, we enjoyed our stay here. Lake views, plenty of loops & trails to walk Samantha, and privacy. 

To see more pictures of our trip to West Point Lake, visit the Geeky Explorers page on Facebook. ‘Like’ us as we will be putting all of our pictures that don’t make it up to the site there.

 

 


Second Shakedown RV trip to West Point Lake

Hello from chilly West Point Lake in Georgia. Yes, that is about 5 miles from our rental home. 🙂 We wanted to make one more short trip to test out the rest of the RV before we haul it in for new tires & some work. We stayed 2 nights instead of 1 which was nice – we actually had a relaxing Saturday! No wifi and no piles of stuff to sort, sell, etc. I think Samantha liked the break as well – no Great Pyrnees stalking her & her house, no cats to take care of, walks around the park – even if it does include a pesky leash. Everyone needs a little vacation!

Here is what we learned on this trip:

When making popcorn on the stove, vent the kitchen. The smoke alarm works.

When the coffee maker breaks, you can make coffee by boiling water on the stove with a tied up filter & some grounds. I don’t think it will ever be Starbucks approved, but it was drinkable!

Having a tow vehicle is a must – it was nice to drive into ‘town’ (West Point) even if there wasn’t much there to do but walk around. I am impressed that people travel without one!

The TV position wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, so we will replace it with a flat screen. We watched Once, which we really liked. It’s nice to watch a film that doesn’t have a Hollywood ending and to watch a type of film where both of the previewed films (Waitress & The Namesake) are also now in the netflix queue.

Gray water tank needs to be about 80 times larger. Seriously! Okay, I know that this really means is we need to conserve water a lot better. By Sunday morning we didn’t even take showers yet and the tank reads ¾. Ouch! We do not use paper products, so a lot of it was dishwashing & cook prep. Not sure how this bodes for our boondocking opportunities, but time will tell. Another downside to a gas Class A that isn’t a fully equipped tank wise as some diesel pushers out there. We also found out what happens when the tank gets full. No more water. At least there is no confusion and chance for overflowing. 🙂

I also ran the Splendide washer/dryer and need to research how many gallons of water that takes. I am hoping that is what is pushing our gray water to a high level quickly! I found that this worked WAY better than expected. I did some reading and many people seem to have problems with clothes coming out super wrinkled & unwearable. I was thinking if that was to be the case, it wouldn’t be worth the weight. Well, I will have to give up the idea of only doing wash once a week, but my test load was yoga pants, a thin long sleeved hoodie, a tank top & some undies. Washed & dryed AWESOME with NO wrinkles. Now, I hope to be able to put a little more in but it seems like the key is not to stuff it with clothes. I am sure we will still have to hit the laundrymat but the less of that the better!

We ran into an issue with the propane not heating the water and having to use electric. Because we are 30 amp, we then had to do some switch flipping to use the microwave. Good times. The electric did heat the water, not sure yet why the propane didn’t. It seemed to fire so we are not quite sure on that one.

Speaking of microwave convection oven, my first attempt at brownies failed. I read the instructions, lowered the heat as indicated & they were a TOTAL fail. The tops were still good, but that’s was it! I decided to not follow the instructions when baking dinner, and it turned out perfect. Hmmmm…. I may have said this before, but if this is going to be my home, things we do at home have to transfer well here. I know there will be modifications, but still – we need to cook! So for dinner we made a grain mustard marinated tilapia, a spicy split pea and sauteed peppers. Okay, we cheated on the split pea since that was leftover from dinner on thursday that we made in the house, but still. We could bake in the convection oven & it worked, Keith used the outdoor kitchen for extra space and that seemed to work out. Now to figure out where our wine cellar goes…

For more pictures, visit Geeky Explorers on Facebook & like us – that’s where we’ll be putting all the extra pics for our posts!


Blog Server Move In Process

This is a geeky service announcement. This blog may be wonky over the next few days due to geek #1 moving this blog to hosted servers. Better to do this now, then when we are actually traveling & have brilliant blog posts. 🙂