I’m a full-time RVer!
It’s been a week since I moved into my 17′ fiberglass egg named “Sarandipity” and I’ve had moments of frustration, fear, pride, and perfect contentment. I’ve been challenged, and I’m sure there will be many more lessons to come, but right now… I absolutely love my new little home!
It started a bit rocky last Friday with difficulties hitching up. The trailer was being stored at a friend’s home and between four adults it took over an hour to get it hooked up. The problem? The ball hitch didn’t want to go in the socket. Not sure why, but there was lots of, “Okay, back it up 1/2 an inch… now move forward an inch… you’re rolling forward when you put it in park, just keep your foot on the break… maybe if I stand on it and bounce up and down… why won’t it go in?!…”
and so on, and so forth…
In the end, one person theorized that the SUV being on a hill and the trailer on a flat spot messed with the angle. Another thought that the hitch lock wasn’t completely out of the way. Regardless, we finally got it hooked up and started our 20 mile trip across town to the RV park that would be my home for the next two months.
The drive to the park was smooth, without incident, and unhitching was a breeze. But we soon discovered:
- I was missing the electrical cord and the graduated end to the hose for dumping the tanks. Off we went to an RV parts store and purchased the two items.
- We also learned that the water leaked terribly where it attached to the side of Sarandipity, and my air conditioner wouldn’t turn on. A call to a mobile RV mechanic revealed that I hadn’t turned on the switch in the park’s breaker at the site where I plug in. Air conditioner and outlets now working, we scheduled a time later in the week for the mechanic to come out and fix the water hose connection.
- My stabilizers couldn’t be put down because I had no idea where to find the metal rod for lowering them in the pile of gear still packed in my SUV.
At this point I was tired. Muscles that hadn’t been used in a year were unhappy to be so rudely awakened, and I ached all over. The work it took to move my trailer across town worried me.
Would it always be this hard and take this long?
I decided I’d wait until the next day to unpack the SUV. I kissed my Dad and friend good bye and thanked them for all the help.
As I went inside and closed the door, I noticed the room was aglow with light and Yiska had found a spot just under the sitting area that could function as his den. It was cozy and comfortable, and I changed into my PJ’s and poured myself a glass of wine.
We’re home, Yiska.
Even though I haven’t had a chance to use them, the amenities at the park are wonderful. There’s a large pool and jacuzzi; a pool room, library, game room, and laundry. The bathrooms are clean, internet is good, and the staff is friendly. But, I feel like I’m baking in a large, gravel, parking-lot-oven. The full-timers have chosen the premium spots; premium being any space with a hint of shade. Cars snuggle up to shrubs and chairs squish under awnings in an effort to combat the triple digit temperatures. The gravel spaces in the back of the park are designated for those with dogs, and my little egg is frying, sunny side up, as the searing sun radiates off the rock. I hadn’t planned on spending any more summer months in Arizona, but my chemo treatments won’t be finished until July 1st, so it is what it is.
Meanwhile, I’ve become a part of the community and am entertained by the reaction to my trailer and travel plans.
“Oh, look, it’s a little Casita!” (It’s actually an Escape)
“Are you sure that’s enough room for you and your dog?” (It’s bigger than a backpack.)
“Where’s all your stuff?” (I gave it away.)
“You’re traveling by yourself? Be careful and lock your doors. It’s good you have a dog.” (Common sense and listening to your intuition goes a long way.)
The mobile homes and RV’s dwarf me. Even among those living this tiny house lifestyle, I’m unusual in my smallness. The people I’ve spoken with are kind and helpful, and because word has spread of my cancer and solo status, I’m visited daily by one resident or another. It’s comforting, but I want to reassure them that I’m fine. It’s true; I am fine. Each day that goes by, I learn something new about how to operate my trailer and my confidence grows.
I’ve hitched and unhitched the trailer two more times this week and feel good about it now. It takes me about 20 minutes from start to finish to tuck my things into safe places, and hook the SUV to the trailer. Why go to the trouble? Because I’m in “backing up school” with my dad. We drive to a nearby church parking lot and I practice. Backing up the trailer has always been my biggest fear when I think about this adventure.
What happens if I can’t do it? What if the spot is too narrow and I hit something? Or I can’t get it situated and everyone is watching… Or I jackknife… Or…
Our first outing wasn’t good. It validated my worry. My dad’s frustration level with watching me bungle my way through didn’t help matters. On the drive back to the RV park he tried to remain positive.
“You did improve towards the end,” he stated with less enthusiasm than I would have liked.
I’m horrible at this. I don’t get it!
The second lesson was very different from the first. Keeping my hands on the bottom of the steering wheel, I thought about which way I wanted the trailer to turn and then moved my hand in that direction. I pulled forward often to straighten out the trailer and my SUV and heard my dad shout, “You’re doing great!” several times. As we drove back to the park, he excitedly talked about how well I did and I knew he meant it.
I’ve conquered my biggest fear. I now know I can back up my trailer when I need to. I have the concept down and with practice I’ll get better. This experience is sometimes scary, and I have to remind myself to take it one step at a time.
Slowly, I’m gaining the knowledge and skills to do this.