Life is a Detour

It’s been a crazy ride since March 2017, eight months of non-stop changes.  Here are my thoughts on the whole experience.  

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When I started this blog, I committed myself to being honest concerning the experiences we endured during this camper life journey. The good, the bad, and the indifferent. It’s been a crazy ride since March 2017, eight months of non-stop changes. Here are my thoughts on the whole experience.

Confined Spaces and Cabin Fever.

Cabin in WinterEven the hardiest people of sound mind will find it difficult to create enough entertainment to keep yourself busy. There is only so much reading, crafting and internet activities to keep the mind active. There will be days when you will question yourself, “What am I accomplishing here”. Not to say the solitude is bad, but it will run its course over time. Human beings are social by nature. Look out for extended periods of time when you are feeling blue or indifferent. These could be precursors for mental health issues in the future.

The O’ Mighty Dollar.

As frugal as we may be, there will always be a need for cash. Finding enough income dollar-726881_960_720to buy food, clothing, medicines, or fix breakdowns is inevitable. The majority of the population is depended on the Capitalist way of living, no matter what your personal political beliefs are. We need service providers and stores to make it month to month. In order to make the camping lifestyle a success, there must be some form of residual income to depend on. Be it retirement, pensions, social security and the likes. Don’t think you will make a dependable income from the mass amounts of people out there wanting your services. Yes, you will make a little, but a little won’t cut it. It takes much more than you think.

What about all those successful YouTubers you’ve been watching? They all have their own story to tell. If you pay attention, many of them have residual income; are they receiving a disability check, food stamps, other forms of benefits? How do you know? You don’t. Many I have watched have not given up their homes. They have stability, or they circle back to their familiar stomping grounds, aka hometown.  They are not going it alone. Enough about that.

Creature Comforts of Home.

Pink_and_black_bathroomHere is where we get down and dirty. Are you willing to forgo your daily bathing routine? Yes, I have heard, “I have a shower and water hook up”. What happens when you can’t find suitable utilities, aka campgrounds? Don’t kid yourself, it will happen. Do you know how many gallons of water it takes to bathe in a bucket, not a shower? I do… five gallons if you have short hair. Add a couple of gallons for long hair. It takes a half a cup of water to brush your teeth. How about using the toilet?  Have you ever pooped in a bucket? You say, “WHAT”! Yes, a five-gallon bucket with a Lug-a-loo.  What if I have to pee? Well, ladies…an empty gallon jug and a plastic funnel works just fine. Guess you never thought you would stand up to pee. Now you can. Disposal is always an issue. One word of advice, don’t go digging around in trash cans and dumpsters. Ask any truck driver, they can teach you a lot. Enough said on this subject.

Food Preparation and Choices.

We have a decent size refrigerator in our motor home. It holds approximately a weeks worth of food for two people. With that said, it does not leave enough space for cold soft drinks and the top shelf is used for a large block of ice to keep everything from spoiling. That doesn’t leave room for fresh veggies. Meal planning has changed 3345850330_f85ba44d10_bdramatically, more canned very thing. Not that it is bad, but it does get mundane after a while. Not to mention trying to get the nutrition that is needed to keep one healthy. How many ways can you cook hot dogs, eggs, canned veggies till it doesn’t appeal to you any longer? I long for my kitchen gadgets.

Moving, Moving, and More Moving.

The four M’s. Is this really realistic? Sounds great in theory, but every story has an end. For us, the end is no more moving. I may have told you all before that my husband and I drove an expedite truck across country for five-plus years. We were paid to move freight long distances. We saw almost all lower 48 states multiple times. Lived in a 96-inch sleeper, slept at truck stops and rest areas alike. 100_1097I’ve showered and laundered our clothes in so many small towns across North America it would make your head spin. I have enjoyed fine dining and greasy spoons from Laredo, Texas to Minot, ND. So our need to see the country has been fulfilled, our adventurous streak has run its course. This Camper Life was just another extension of that lifestyle that needed to be explored, and we did it. One more check mark off the bucket list.

Recommendations:

So you still want to give this uncertain lifestyle a chance? I’m not here to convince you otherwise. We did it, we survived. Who am I to tell someone, “You’re crazy” for trying. If there is a burning desire for you to get out there and experience an adventure then do it. Just know what you’re in for and plan accordingly. You may find yourself right back where you started from.

For us, we are putting roots down again. Our curiosity has been quenched and our longing for permanency has taken over. We’re on a new path, new career, and a new start. I wish all of you the best of luck in your adventures and God Speed.

Laura at San Refael Reef, Az

*In the near future, this blog will be incorporated into my personal blog, Dotty’s World. I will continue to write about new experiences mixed with my interests, events, and hobbies. I hope you will enjoy reading my discoveries because there is always something to be said.*

 

 

 

This Life in a Camper

No matter how much strategizing life has a way of doing its own thing.  This summer has proven that to be true.

The Best Laid Plans Goes Astray…

No matter how much strategizing life has a way of doing its own thing.  This summer has proven that to be true.  I would like to get real here for a moment or two.  Sharing our setbacks and changes in plans.

Here is the truth, we are getting older.  At fifty life is much slower and (not to be a downer) less exciting.  The things that used to excite and move our emotions just don’t do it for us anymore.  Every morning takes a little more effort to motivate.  Life is not anew, it’s that same old hat. old_age_quote_3 I now understand how elderly people become crotchety, the grumpy old man syndrome.  I feel it peeking its head out every now and again.

Reality set in when we realize there is no way of getting around some type of permanency.

A stable place to call home.  Whether it be a campground, small piece of land, even BLM land (semi-permanent).  It’s still quasi-permanent.  Even nomadic people had a migration pattern.  So do we.  Knowing we needed a steady income in the near future, we had to back up and punt.  We are not pensioners, collect social security or independently wealthy.  There has to be some form of income at some point. Here is where the problem lies.  How to put down roots as cheaply as possible, remain somewhat mobile and reduce expenditures in today’s economy.

I frequently read on Facebook group posts (full-time camping threads) questions concerning making a living.  How does one do it, traveling the country and making money?  I won’t say it’s impossible, however, if you’re a prideful person I will say you will have a tough go at it.  Changing jobs frequently is stressful, wondering if you are going to work today or tomorrow is stressful.  thumb_stress_reductionDo you have enough money for the limited bills you do have, is stressful.  Our age doesn’t provide us with the flexibility to constantly change our situation on a whim.  We are on a two to three-year cycle.  Not bad for our age.

So we have stayed put for the past couple of months taking care of multiple doctor visits (old age got us again).  Battling out the aches and pains (where did that come from?) and learning what we can and can not do.  Our YouTube site has been stagnant due to lack of content. Permanency doesn’t provide for interesting videos.  Neither does waiting on doctor visits and surgery.  Life is rather boring that way.  It does allow for reflection on what is to come.  Now we are back to the permanency thing.  A ‘Catch 22’ or a full circle quagmire.  We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

quagmire-word-nerd

Limitations of income don’t allow for rent payments or mortgage (not that we want them).  Moving to an area that allows full-time camping removes us from the labor force. So now what?  What is good for the goose may not be good for the gander.  This goose doesn’t want what comes along with brick and mortar housing.  We like our simplistic life with all its navigational problems.  This is most likely the most challenging change we have made yet.  As the seasons change maybe we will have an epiphany that will set us on the right course.  Until then more waiting and more reflection on this life in a camper.

 

Oscar Wilde     “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde

Guide to Successful Boondocking

This is our top 10 boondocking tip for the inexpirenced boondocker. This guide helped us have a safe and enjoyable stay where ever we parked.

10 Boondocking Tips for the Inexperienced Boondocker

This is our top 10 boondocking tips we recommend for the inexperienced boondocker,  We used these tips on our 2600 mile journey this past Spring, on our road-trip to Georgia and back to Michigan.  Not once were we asked to leave our parking spot.

Here is our list:

1:     Ask permission – Just don’t assume it is legal for you t to park in any public parking lot.  Ask the management of the anchor store if they would allow you to park overnight.  Many times they will agree and direct you to the best area in the parking lot to park.

2:     Don’t lie about why you are there – Be honest about your need to park.  We were never told no, even when it was posted “no overnight camping”.  We were just honest about it.

3:     Never set up camp in the parking lot – We have seen campers take advantage of the kindness of store manager and their parking rules.  Don’t pull out your grills and chairs as you would if you were at a campsite.  It’s rude and just plain tacky.

Rude

4:     Never overstay your welcome – One or two days stay at best.  You don’t want to attract attention to yourself and ruin other traveler’s chances to boondock at the same location.  Share the love.

5:      Spend a little money  – Even if it just a gallon of water or a bag of ice.  Patron the store will make the manager more willing to let you stay longer.  It’s also being considerate of the situation.

pitch in trash image

6:     Keep it clean – Pick up your trash and clean up your surrounding.  It’s very sad to see full trash bag and tons of litter surrounding the parking lots.  Be a good guest and pick up after yourself.  It will make management happy too.

7:     Be quiet – This is not a time to have a party.  Keep your noise level down, again don’t attract attention, it’s rude and you may get a visit from the police.

8:     Vehicle Presentation – You don’t have to have a new camper to be overlooked while boondocking.  Keep your rig clean and in good working order.  It draws less suspicion.

Traveler, Motor Home, Travel Journal, Bonndocking

9:     Consideration parking habits – Plan your parking on the outskirts of the parking lot.  Don’t park up front and take up multiple spaces.  You’ll only make management and customers angry.  Be considerate of the space your rig will use.

10:    No major repairs while parking – Many stores have a policy that states no repairing of vehicles in parking lot. If you have major repairs in the future, plan accordingly and drive your rig where you can repair it or have it repaired without harassment.

Live by the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have done to you” (Luke 6:31) and you should have no problems boondocking on your travels.  You can also save money on the way too.

Challenges of Boondocking

These are real concerns that will put a crimp in your travels…

Travel Obstacles While on the Road

When you read about boondocking you’ll frequently hear how wonderful life is living free on the road.  Well, I am here to tell you not every day is peaches-n-cream.  There are plenty of obstacles you’ll face and many changes you will make.  This post is about a few of those challenges we have faced along our 2600 mile journey.

Over the course of two months on the road, I’ve watched many YouTube videos, read many posts and blogs concerning the RV lifestyle.  The majority of information that I have found leads me to believe that the RV life is an all carefree style with limited stress.  I’m here to tell you life, in general, is stressful.  It doesn’t matter if you live in a house or on the road, problems will arise and have to be dealt with.

The first big issue we faced while being on the road was high-speed internet access.

4G-internet-phone-serviceNow if you are working from your laptop as your main source of income you will be hard-pressed to find a steady fast connection.  Yes, you can give it your best shot at the local McDonald’s or Starbucks, but driving your rig to find these locations will get tiresome.  Depending on how big your rig is you may not be able to find parking close enough to connect for long.  There also will be days when you won’t be able to connect at all. We use Verizon with a Jetpack and still have trouble with a steady signal.  Verizon has dead spots too.  This is just food for thought for those planning on an online income.  You may want to rethink your plan.

energy-139366_960_720

Power usage is another biggie to think about.  Are you the kind of person who can’t live without your t.v. shows or video games?  I can tell you even if you have batteries and solar panels the power generated will be limited.  The power that’s  been stored during your travels would be better used to power a refrigerator, an air conditioner, fans or keeping your cell phone charged.  There will be a lot of quiet time.  Can you handle the quite? “Silence is golden” as the saying goes only to those who enjoy it.

Storm+warning

Weather conditions are a must to keep track of during your travels, rainstorms, high winds and hot temperatures.  These conditions can all be a day breaker for the boondocker.  Keep a daily check on your local weather channel to make sure you are not in harm’s way.  Hot temperatures are the most of my worries living in an RV.  See this post on how we deal with the heat. Spending for a full hookup campsite for power can take a toll on your finances if you are on a limited income.

bathing with a bucket (500x629)

Lastly, get used to limiting your bathing time.  There will be days when you will not bathe.  I know you have probably heard of full-timers that purchase time at a gym to use their shower facilities.  Once again, driving around in a big RV in a heavily populated area to find your shower access will get old.  It’s also expensive, remember you have to pay per person.  You would be better off locating a truck stop and share the shower stall if you’re traveling as a couple.  We’ve used a bucket with water or baby wipes to wash down if a shower wasn’t available.  Change your clothes regularly and don’t forget the deodorant. This will stretch the bathing considerably.

These four issues are not often discussed or are sugar-coated in the camping, boondocking world.  They are real concerns that will put a crimp in your travels if you’re not prepared to deal with them.  Think it through, be realistic, prepare and enjoy the ride.

A New Journey After Fifty

This blog will document the events of this journey, good or bad.

Here we sit, stunned and confused.  No work…not again.  No freight to transport, no money to be made.  This is not the first time work has dried up for this couple.  It happened about seven years ago during the housing crises.  It was a time for a change then and once again, time for a change now.  We drove as OTR “Over the Road” truck drivers in the expedite trucking world.  Over the road for five years delivering “just in time” freight.  All kinds of freight.  You name it, we hauled it.

It was a sort of a precursor for what we are to embark on this go around.  Life on the road.  This time will be different.  We won’t be sharing an 8×8 sleeper.  Not that it was all that bad.  Although cramped, it had all the comforts of a small camper a refrigerator, microwave, TV and can’t forget the Xbox.  We’ve done this before.  This time we’ll gain regular sleep and an eating schedule on our terms.  This time it will be a camper’s life on our schedule.

After three weeks of fighting off anxiety and mild depression, we came out of our stupor like a waking giant.  It was time to make a plan.  How did we wish to live?  It was our choice this time.  What were our dreams and ideas the last time this happened?  We muddled with the idea of Workampers before.  Before the job offer of OTR trucking.  How would we make it work, what would be our income?  It took many, many hours of online research to make the decision a reality.  We could do this.

So here we are, selling our home, pick up, the straight truck and anything that we can.  There are many people who have given us courage and well wishes.  Even those that wished they could do the same.

This blog will document the events of this journey, good or bad.  All truth and nothing but the truth.  There are many other fellow travelers who only tell the happy end of the story.  We are real people with real encounters.  We will tell it like it is.  Hope you will join us, cheer us on and leave us constructive comments as we “do this one more time”.