Not all who wander are lost.

Posts in category Living Our RV Dreams

Thanksgiving Weekend

Well, things are definitely starting to look better for us here in our little home.  It looks like that ridiculous cold snap is over for a bit, or for least the duration of our stay, and we’ve been able to have water every day since we moved to our new campsite.  It’s a relief to not have to get all bundled up, scrape off the windshield, get the dogs all ready to go, and jump in the car to take a shower!  Slowly but surely we are getting used to our new life and we just might be over our initial panic that we dealt with after the first couple of weeks.  We haven’t been wandering much yet, so Jason spends his days plotting our next trip, working on the website, and working, and I’ve been working on some fiber preps, spinning yarn, and other little creations that will soon be in our shop.  I was hoping to have it up and running by now, but I’m not moving as quickly as I’d hoped.

We survived our first Thanksgiving and the turkey was even edible!  We’ve cooked turkeys before but not very many and even though each have turned out just fine, I still get a little worried that we’re going to end up with a turkey that resembles the one  on the Griswold’s dinner table in Christmas Vacation (or caught on fire like the one we saw in Jennifer’s kitchen on Facebook 🙂 )  I really wanted to have it here in RV until we realized that our oven wasn’t quite big enough for even the smallest bird to cook properly, and not to mention the amount of propane we would use cooking the thing for 4 hours would be ridiculous!  We thought about getting a roaster, but those things are huge and what would we do with it when we were done?  So it was much easier to just do it at Brooke’s place.  We had a nice casual dinner with just the family and spent the rest of the night lounging around watching “How I Met Your Mother” on Netflix.  To me, some of the best days are just hanging around with people you love doing absolutely nothing, laughing at dumb stuff only we think is funny, and just being together.

Photo Nov 27, 6 56 42 PM

Yesterday we had temps in the lower 70’s so we decided to stay as far away as possible from the malls and big box stores and took the dogs and the girls and hiked around Lory State Park.  It was a beautiful day for a nice long walk after stuffing our faces from the day before.  We both had small heart attacks when Brooke and Sadie decided to climb up part of the mountain.  Brooke assured me it was safe, but my idea of safe isn’t climbing around a jagged rock 20 feel off the ground!

SONY DSC

Sadie is planning on staying with us a little longer than originally planned so she’s leaving in about a week.  It’s been really good having her here.  We only hope that next holiday season Ben and his family will be able to join us, wherever we are!

We got some really exciting news yesterday! We got an offer on the house on Thanksgiving day, which was way too low as they usually are.  We sent back a counter offer but we weren’t confident that they would be willing to come close to that.  Well, we heard yesterday that they are going to accept it!  So we just need to sign a few things and it looks like we have a deal…again!  So we could really use some positive vibes sent our way so the sale goes all the way to completion and we can be done with this house!  We have to give a shout out to Lisa who went in and did some final cleaning for us, and my dad who stopped by and shoveled the walks for us.  The people that looked at the house that day are the ones that are buying it!

We’re going to spend a few more days here and then Sadie will be heading back to Ames, and we will begin traveling south to a place where we won’t have to worry about freezing lines.  We’ll then head back here to spend Christmas with our kids, then head even further south.  We’re currently in the process of looking around and mapping our trip so we aren’t 100% sure where we are going yet.  All we know is that its going to be warmer!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

We would like to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers. We hope you all have a wonderful day. We will miss our friends and family back home. This will be our first Thanksgiving away from home. We are thankful that we will be spending the day with all of our kids but one (miss you Ben) at our oldest daughters place in Fort Collins, CO. We will be having a late dinner because a few of the kids have to work. This will give us a little more time to get dinner ready. The weather out here is suppose to be beautiful, temps in the lower 60’s with lots of sunshine.

Just a quick update

We have finally thawed out:) We now have flowing water once again and was able to get  the tanks drained. Not only is that good news but there doesn’t seem to be any damage to anything due to the pipes freezing. The weather forecast is looking good with temperatures in the lower to mid 40’s for at least the next 8 days. We are planning on moving south after the Thanksgiving feast with the kids.

Status on our truck: We found an auto repair shop in Fort Collins that would charge us for labor only and we could purchase new part. So we purchased the new wheel hub assembly from NAPA and dropped the truck off yesterday and it should be done today. After reading all the forums and even talking to the repair shop we decide it would be better to replace the whole hub assembly rather than just the abs sensor itself. With the price of the new part and the cost of the labor from Campus Repair, it is over 100% cheaper than having the GMC dealer do the work. A 100%! That just seems crazy to me that the dealer is that much higher. So total cost for part and labor should be somewhere around $315.

Tomorrow we are going to be leaving Boyd Lake State Park and moving to Horsetooth Reservoir Campgrounds. We will stay there until we head south for the rest of the cold months.

What the heck are we doing here??

Those who know us well, know that we are not winter people.  All winter long we whine and complain about how much we dislike the snow, ice, and freezing cold temperatures and then vow that each winter will be our last.  Then we plan some way to get to a sunny spot to shorten the amount of time we have to suffer through the cold and darkness.  So it would seem sort of backwards for our first stop to be a place known for skiing, snowboarding, and all those other “fun” winter sports wouldn’t it?

Well, before we picked this spot we did our research as we do. We checked the average temperatures for November and December, which according to Weather.com is in the 4o’s and 50’s.  One day last summer, Jason spent a decent amount of time putting together a spreadsheet of Iowa weather in comparison to Loveland, CO for me and it was significantly warmer each month (he was trying to help me make an informed decision since he knew how this cold weather makes me crazy) This area is also supposed to have 350 days of sun each year too which is just what I need to maintain my sanity. Who would have guessed that the time we decided to come spend some time here, they would see the coldest temperatures they’ve seen since the 1800’s??  This seems to be a growing trend with us.  When we were in Florida on our bike trip, the locals told us they haven’t seen that much rain in years and years, and now here we are sitting in our camper with cold weather that hasn’t been here since wooly mammoths walked the earth!

We knew that November and December were going to be tricky and there would be some cold nights but -11 windchill was nowhere close to the temps we thought we would be dealing with.  We learned that we can put heat on the waterlines all day long but at these temps, all we’re doing is using up propane faster than we care to and our waterlines?  Well, they’re still popsicles! We had a small tiny bit of thawing yesterday and got about 6 drops of water out of our faucets and got all excited, but after the temperature dropped again today we lost that tiny bit of progress from yesterday.  We woke up this morning trying to figure out why our noses and ears were on the verge of frostbite until we realized we ran out of propane.  Again.  But this time it was in the middle of the night.  So when we took the truck in to get the brakes looked at, we ended up needing to make another stop at JAX to get our propane tanks filled.  Sounds like the infra red heaters that my old friend Katy suggested might be on the shopping list soon.  At this rate, we’ll be paying over $300 a month in propane.   We’re not having trouble keeping warm in the RV really, well once we put on our 2 pairs of socks, long johns, pants, 3 shirts, sweatshirts, scarf and hat.  Its fun to get all bundled up and watch movies isn’t it?

One thing I can say is that its given me a little time to work with my fiber.  With all the planning and getting ready the last couple months I had to put it on the back burner so it was nice to spend some time prepping some fiber and getting a little spinning done.  Here’s a little of what I worked on over the last couple days.  If the temperature stays like it is, I should be out of raw fiber in no time.

Photo Nov 15, 2 44 28 PM   Photo Nov 14, 10 11 51 AM   Photo Nov 14, 1 48 39 PM

Luckily it’s supposed to be a balmy 40-ish during parts of next week so we’re hoping we can get a little thawed out.  We’ve gotten used to working with no water in the kitchen but it sure would be nice to get cleaned up without trudging through the snow and getting in the car to get to the shower.  Needless to say the last few days have been a little frustrating. When we were planning all of this, everything just fell into place.  We felt like we were doing what we were supposed to be doing.  Lately we wonder if these are all signs that we’re not quite where we are supposed to be at all.  We’ve definitely had a weird stroke of bad luck.  The good thing is even though we’re stuck in this tiny little space all day long like a couple of sardines (hoping we don’t freak out like that dude in The Shining who wasn’t very far from us) we still really like each other .  All I can say is that I sort of wish we were whining about the rain in Florida again. I know things don’t always go as planned, but man, we could really use a few of those average 40-50 degree Colorado days about now.

 

GMC ABS sensor

Took our truck in to the GMC dealer today to have the brakes checked out. I had noticed that when applying the brakes at speeds between 5-10mph I could feel the ABS kick on. After combing the internet I had found that there is an ABS sensor in the wheel hub which is also call the wheel speed sensor and I guess they are known for going bad. You can purchase just the sensor for around $50. Which I didn’t think seem to bad. The GMC dealer called and confirmed what I had thought but also informed me that the entire wheel hub assembly needed to replaced and they won’t replace just sensor itself. I have read forums about pros and cons of replacing just the sensor and replacing the entire hub assembly. The dealers quote was around $750 per side. This seems very high. Monday I will call around to see if I can get a few more quotes. Hoping for a better price. If anyone else has had this problem I would love to know what you did. Did you replace just the sensor or replace the entire wheel hub and what was the cost?

RVing in the Winter Day 2

Water is still frozen and fresh water tank is now empty. Tank is empty because kitchen facet was still working. We are going to wait to fill it until weather warms up a little. Friday forecast is showing above freezing temps. It is currently snowing and the temp is 1 degree with feels like temp at -10. IMG_2056We will need to go and get one of our LP tanks filled today and I am hoping second tanks has enough gas to last why we get other tank filled. I had to youtube is see how our LP system worked I didn’t understand the automatic switchover valve. Our 5th wheel is equipped with two 30 pound LP tanks. They are connected to a automatic switchover valve so when one tank goes empty it will automatically switchover to the other tank. There is plastic bubble with a green or red color in the bubble to let you know when the primary tank is empty. You can tell which tank is the primary by the direction the automatic switch lever is pointing. When switching out the tanks you turn the switch to the tank that still has gas and then disconnect the empty one. Sounds pretty simple but I didn’t know to switch the valve over when disconnecting the empty tank until watching a youtube video on how the automatic switchover works.

Our Wandering Minds

It’s been awhile since we updated the blog because last week, even though we spent most of our time in one place settling in to our new lifestyle, our minds were out wandering plenty as we were trying to figure some things out.  And let me tell you, they go much farther than we ever could in a week.

Before we left and throughout the entire planning process, I knew there would come a time early in our journey that we would wonder what the hell we were doing and if we are completely insane.  I just hoped that we would recognize it when it happened and we would be able to work through it and understand that it was all part of making a change this big.  Moving out of our comfort zone is well….not very dang comfortable! We had a beautiful home, our kids were running in and out with their friends making us laugh every day, we had our family all around us, and no matter how much we like to travel, Ames, IA is actually a great city with everything we needed.  So why would would we want to leave all of that??  Because as much as we loved our lives there, we knew that we wouldn’t be content if we didn’t at least try this new life we had been dreaming about for a long time.  Even though we did countless hours of research and thought we talked about everything we could fathom that could happen, we found out pretty quickly that there were a lot of variables that we hadn’t figured into our planning.

The house not selling was a huge set back that we are still trying to work through.  The sale was supposed to provide us with a little financial cushion to help us early on because we knew the beginning phase was probably going to be the most expensive.  Since that didn’t happen we have no cushion and things ended up being a little more expensive than we realized.  For instance, we knew the truck wouldn’t get great gas mileage but pulling the RV here cost over $300.  We also didn’t budget in the $70 for the park passes and the $8 every time one of our kids wanted to come visit us. When we move to our next place we will need fork over $90 for a county pass because we can’t stay in a state park for more than 28 days in a 45 day period.  We have to pay for these passes on top of the regular camping fees.  Nowhere in our planning did we figure in our cost for our regular living expenses on the road as well as all of our utilities and expenses for the house at the same time.  In hind site the best thing to do would have been to wait until the house sold to leave but we were anxious to get going and tired of the stress of trying to sell the house while we still lived in it.  But in no way did we think we would still be trying to sell the thing in November.  So needless to say, finances have been a strain on us for the last couple weeks.  We knew we would need to be more careful with our budget and we were ready for that.  It was part of the plan.  It was our choice.  What wasn’t our choice was the way the house sale collapsed and with it our sense of security in our financial situation. I’m still trying not to be bitter towards that woman and her realtor, and I’m trying to let it go but its taking a lot of work!

Jason was sick most of the week the first week, and Sam had to be taken to the dentist to get his infection taken care of.  Sadie was at home really sick and there was nothing I could do for her to make her feel better being 700 miles away.  Obviously none of this was in the plan but we knew illness or dentist visits accompanied by trying to figure out what places would take our insurance would be part of living on the road.  You can’t avoid that kind of stuff all together but we didn’t picture our first week in beautiful Colorado sitting in the camper while Jason felt miserable and I felt helpless.  But who would ever picture that kind of thing?

We didn’t realize that there were actually things we would miss about home besides our families.  Like, we will have to find a new favorite coffee house every where we go! How are we a going to find a coffee joint that has the black bean burgers, cinnamon rolls, and cheesecake that Cafe Diem has that we love?  We loved riding our bikes around the paths in town through Brookside Park and I enjoyed being able to run all my errands through town on just my two wheels.  With my terrible sense of direction, it would take me months to figure out the way to get everywhere by bike and then we would leave and I’ll need to figure it out all over again.  Familiarity creates a strong draw to a place and we didn’t understand quite how much until last week.

So it took a broken iPhone which let to entire meltdown on my part for us to start doubting our decisions and re-thinking our plans.  I was upset about something, probably a really dumb thing like dropping one of my cookies in dog hair or something,  and Jason said the words “Do you just want to go back?”  Since things weren’t going quite as we had planned it was very easy for us to start picturing the life we left behind and suddenly wanting the comfort of being where we used to call “home”.  We quickly put the RV and truck up for sale on Craigslist in Fort Collins and we planned to stay here until Thanksgiving, then move back to Ames to our house.  Our very. empty. house.  The next day after realizing that we didn’t want to go back to our same exact situation, our plan was to try to trade the RV for a smaller Class C which would allow us to get our cushion back and travel a little cheaper because we could sell the truck and pull the Mini behind us.  We even went to look at a few but now that our 5th wheel was starting to feel a bit like home, I had a hard time picturing myself actually living in one of those dinky things, tripping over my dog, possibly dislocating my shoulder…AGAIN.  We liked the idea of having a home base and traveling so we first thought about selling the house, finding a smaller place to rent in Ames, and then still traveling the country like we wanted to but having a place to land from time to time when we were missing home or Vesuvius’ wood fired pizza.  The idea of renting an apartment and asking someone if we could paint our walls pink or whatever wasn’t sitting well with us.  Plus we didn’t know how we would afford such a lifestyle.  At one time we came up with this brilliant plan: What if we asked our kids here in Colorado to let us rent a room in their house when they found a bigger place so we could have a place to come “home” to?  We quickly regained what was left of our sanity and chucked that idea because it really didn’t make any sense and honestly, what late teen and 20 something kids would want their parents renting a room in their house??  So in the matter of a few days our minds had wandered all over the country, to Ames, and back to Colorado and we still handed landed on a solid plan.

Then one morning I was out walking Lucy.  It was 9AM or something like that and I had on a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt…in November.  The sun was out and it was so warm and in front of me there was the lake that we’ve gotten used to looking at every day and walking around with the dogs.  I turned my head and before me were the Rocky Mountains with all of its beautiful colors and snow capped peaks.  I recalled the previous day where we took a drive up to Estes Park and even though we couldn’t go for a hike like we planned (because we learned that you can’t take your dogs on the trails in the national parks) it was still an amazing drive with views that we’d never see in Iowa.  I thought about our plans for the day which was to pick up Sam and Tater and go for a hike at Eldorado State Park since it was such a nice day.  I suddenly remembered that this is the life we have been striving for. We’ve been planning and dreaming about being gypsies for years and now that we’re finally doing it, why are we sitting here trying to figure out a way to do something else?  Were we EVER going to be satisfied with the life we were living at that moment and stop planning for something different?  It finally hit me that this was the time that I knew was going to come, that I thought I’d prepared for.  That time where we would wonder what the hell we were doing and if we were completely insane.  And No, we didn’t recognize it when it hit us.

When things aren’t quite going as you hope, its really easy to want to fall back to the comfort of knowing what lies around every curve.  But that is what we were trying to get away from in the first place.  So now we are back on plan and still keeping our 5th wheel even though we have spent the better part of the day trying to thaw out the lines in the front half.  We haven’t ruled out the idea of traveling in a Class C, if we can find one that will offer a few more comforts than what we looked at before.  We like the idea of traveling together and pulling the car which would save us a little money on gas.  We would be able to sell the truck which would get us our cushion back we would lower our insurance bill which is already significantly high with a teenage kids’ “not so great” driving record attached to it.  But that is something we will probably look at later.  I was able to sell some of my fiber for a little extra money and we still had a little downsizing to do as we found things that we’re lugging around but not using (gotta love Craigslist!) I’m going to start putting together a few things to sell in our online store which will be coming soon to our blog, so hopefully I’ll be able to contribute a bit financially.  So even though things aren’t perfect, we know that they aren’t anywhere.  We are far better off that the few people that are living in tents out here in the 15 degree weather, moving from campground to campground because they don’t have a home.  We also know that after just a couple weeks we’re bound to struggle here and there because this is all new to us.  And that is okay.  That’s part our journey.

Photo Nov 11, 10 25 20 AM