I’m a Full Time RVer!

Sabino Canyon home

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.

0506161933

***

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.)

0515160846

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.

Advertisements

60 thoughts on “I’m a Full Time RVer!

  1. Krista McGarvey

    Fantastic…I had no doubt that you would excel at this step! There is NOTHING that you can’t do once you’ve set your mind, and put your heart into it! Look out world…Sarandipity is going to be coming your way soon! Love you friend! 💋

    Like

  2. Amy

    Love everything about this! You’re so smart to begin slow and learn everything. I’m glad you have A/C in your little casita.

    Like

    1. I couldn’t do this without the A/C. I’m so thankful for it. It’s working out well to be able to test it all while I’m here in town. I’m surprised by how long it’s taking me to get myself set up and organized. And new questions are popping up each day. I have a feeling I’ll be learning for a long time. Thanks, Amy!

      Like

  3. james norman

    The hose leak is normal, make sure there is a rubber hose gasket inside and keep tightening the knob til it stops. They have 90 degree couplings that will help taking the stress of the connection, something for your next trip to the store.

    Like

  4. Congrats! I know you will do well. Everything takes a little practice. And if you need some real inspiration, go to RVSue and her Canine Crew and read about her adventures. She is also solo, with a Casita, and two pups. She has been on the road since 2011. 😃

    Like

  5. Suzanne D

    So excited for you. Finally, you are on the shakedown cruise. Our rig, Big Momma Betsy, still has bugs and jiggles to guss with but like you we are learning. Newest piece of advice: buy extra fuses. Lol

    Like

  6. Sheryle Sage

    We are in our 3rd year of FTing, trust me, all this stuff is normal and you will get the hang of it over time. We started out about 20 miles away as well, figuring it would be easier to do around “home base.” For us, a check list helps a lot as we prepare to travel. Which we are tomorrow from NC to MI. I look forward to reading of your adventures. Your rig is just so cute!!!! perhaps our paths will cross someday.

    Like

    1. 3rd year of FTing… that’s fantastic! It’s also reassuring to know that everyone goes through this big learning phase. I’m putting together the check list you mention. I think it will help a lot. Here’s to crossing paths down the road!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You are an amazing role model – thank you for sharing. i love your approach to life and conquering your fears. This will be an amazing adventure! I wish you the absolute best time!

    Like

  8. I just love you Sara – this is the start of an incredible adventure. It reminds me so much of when we got our first caravan (thats what we call it in this country) and all the various things that went wrong. Each time we go out in the van now less things go wrong but there is normally at least one thing that still goes wrong. You my lovely friend will love this lifestyle. I have to admit that when we are in our ‘caravan’ I am the most relaxed that I ever am. I loved reading this blog. 🙂 xxx

    Like

    1. Loving you right back, Michael! Too bad we can’t go caravanning together. I think my fiberglass egg is pretty water tight, but not enough to get me across the ocean. ❤ Of course, you and I see eye to eye about this life style. I wouldn't expect anything else. 😉

      Like

  9. Susan

    I truly enjoyed reading about your adventure. You write very well. It kept my attention all the way to the very end. I hope to read more in the future. Good luck and congrats on your accomplishments so far. I think you will do very well.

    Like

  10. Harvey Stanbrough

    So happy for you, Sara. With all you’ve been through, I can’t imagine “scary” even being in your vocabulary though. Congratulations. Looking forward to your posts from the road after July 1.

    Like

  11. You’re doing it!!! Congratulations!! I’m so happy for you. You had a dream and you made it happen, in spite of all the obstacles. Well done, my friend, well done! Knowing you made it inspires me immensely. I’m looking forward to hearing more adventures from you ❤

    Like

    1. There were times when the big picture seemed too overwhelming. I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage getting moved out of my large home, get rid of all my belongings, learn how to use my trailer, etc. But, looking back, it was all about just focusing on what I could do ‘that day’. Bit by bit. Thanks for being such an encouraging voice in my life. You inspire me too.

      Like

  12. Diane Donaldson

    You are so brave, Sara! Just so proud of you following your dreams! Do you have an address now? Sending love and prayers for your continued healing and backing up skills! Love you my friend! Diane

    Like

    1. Thanks, Diane! I’m using my parent’s address right now. I joined Escapees which has a program for setting up an address and having mail forwarded to where ever I am, so I need to eventually get that set up. Sending love back to you!

      Like

  13. Norajean

    Sara, from a fellow solo RVer, welcome and congratulations. I have a little larger RV and truck but love my RV life. Your decoration are inspiring me. Even tho I have had some painting ideas, I have had cold get about change… They are warming with your inspiration. Perhaps we will meet down the road. Happy trails, and blessings.

    Like

    1. Yay, a fellow solo female RVer. It’s always inspirational to meet someone doing this. I say go for it with the decoration changes you want to make. It’s one of my favorite things about Sarandipity. I look around and it’s just the way I envisioned it and makes it feel like home because it has my stamp. I hope we can meet down the road.

      Like

  14. Patricia Reynolds

    Sara you are one Crazy (in a lovable way, lol) Lady. What adventures are coming your way. I am so looking forward to reading your all about your adventures along with Yiska. Continue with your healing, am sending you so very much LOVE AND PRAYERS. Love you Gorgeous Lady and enjoy your life to the full. XXXXXXXXXX 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

    Like

  15. Cathy

    Sending you healing prayers for good health. I wish you many fun travel adventures. I am also a single lady traveling with my dog. Hope to see you on the road. Hugs to you and Yiska.

    Like

  16. Tina Mason

    Amazing and it all looks so much fun! You are now at a point that you thought you may never reach, but you have! I am so looking forward to hearing about your travels. Nobody can say that you have not thought about your journey in your little egg, its planned to perfection as far as your equipment is concerned and you can now see where life takes you. Its a privilege to be sharing this with you Sara xxxxx

    Like

    1. Tina, I did wonder if I would ever reach this point. So much had to be done before getting here, but taking it one chunk at a time helped. I’m excited to finish organizing, get my last month of chemo done, and then hit the road!

      Like

  17. Jerry Salmon

    Jerry
    When I attempted to back up our fifth wheel my wife would start selling tickets. It was a long show but now with practice the show is shorter.

    Like

  18. Linda Artley

    What a fantastic amount of milestones and you are really, truly getting there step by step. So smart of you to get the learning process out of the way before taking off. I bet you will be glad you did it this way. Just think each day, while sitting on the gravel, of the things you will see and the people you will meet. I only had a small camping experience but truthfully the memories always stay! It is a process leading to a journey..your journey and Siska’s.

    Like

  19. Pat and Linda

    Sara, Linda and I are so glad you are starting your journey ! The end of the tunnel is in sight ! You are in our thoughts . God speed . Pat

    Like

  20. Kathy

    Way to go Sara. Believe me, everything will get easier with time and practice. Remember, nobody is born knowing how to back up a trailer. It’s a skill to learn just like any other skill. You’ll soon be doing it like a pro!

    Like

    1. I thought about your comment the other day and it hit me. “Nobody is born knowing how to back up a trailer.” I’ve seen people that are so good at it, that being reminded they were once beginners learning how, helped me a lot. Thanks!

      Like

  21. Peg Brown

    Congratulations! be brave, be confident, conquer your fears (starting with the little ones and the easy ones). You are a pro now – a full-timer. Enjoy each moment. Work on getting heathier each day. Hug your dog. Find some shade and read a book.

    I just returned from my first long-term trip – five weeks in a brand new 13′ Scamp and 7,000 miles on the road. 12 new states, 3 new National Parks. And when I got home, I whipped that little trailer into the driveway like a natural! You will, as well.

    You are a survivor – of cancer and of life. Live the dream!

    Like

    1. Peg, thanks for the great words of encouragement. I loved hearing the part about how you whipped that trailer right into your driveway. What an exciting whirlwind of travel you just did! I can hardly wait to get out there too. Soon… the countdown has begun.

      Like

  22. Everyone has doubts, fears, and a good case of the shakes when they start RV’ing. But revel in your basic humanity: you’ll get better with practice; when you sit in one place for a while you’ll forget everything you knew; and you’ll learn it all over again after a few moves. 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s