Years ago when I was in the throes of parenting and working, I was envious of friends and acquaintances who were able to work out a break from normal life for an adventure that was completely outside the box. I dreamed about having an experience like that, but I did not know what I wanted to do, and it did not seem possible at the time.
The last ten years have included many adventures as well as challenges, some planned, and some we did not ask for or welcome. I had some experiences at the same time I was going about normal life that were very rewarding, such as hosting a foreign exchange student for almost a year, and helping my mom self-publish her memoir The Red Cottage. More recently there was a multi-year difficult period that included moving, elder care, a lawsuit, some broken bones, a tornado, and the pandemic. There were also some good times including our son’s wedding, and I have much to be grateful for.
We have all learned that you cannot know what is coming around the corner, so you have to go with the flow and make the best of things. A very close friend of mine, Tracy, was fortunate enough to travel all over the world and have many cool experiences. We had talked about trips and activities we would do together after I retired. Unfortunately she passed on unexpectedly two years ago. I miss her very much and grieve the loss of her friendship, as well as fun things we would have done together. At her Celebration of Life, one of the themes was to “Say Yes” while you can, because you don’t know if you will be able to later.
This fall some bigger challenges are finally behind us. In the spirit of Tracy, we just said Yes and bought a slightly used 5th Wheel RV and truck! That is not quite as outside the box as some things, but it is a big decision for us and qualifies as an adventure different than anything I have done before.
We had been thinking about buying an RV for years, but there were many reasons why we had continued to think and not actually do it. We had done a lot of research, been to RV shows, and made spreadsheets comparing models and features. We wanted something big enough to live in for a couple of months straight (without driving each other too crazy), but small enough to be able to maneuver and get in National Parks. We will use it for lodging this winter in Arizona, and for other trips around the country later.
Our 5th Wheel trailer is a 2018 Jayco Eagle HT 27.5RLTS. The exterior length is just under 31 feet. The previous owners took excellent care of it as it is in immaculate condition. It looks huge when I am standing next to it, but we know folks who have RVs that are much bigger.
After purchasing the RV, we had to leave it at the dealer for a couple of weeks while we bought a truck to tow it, and then got the truck fitted with the right equipment to tow a 5th Wheel trailer. By the time we drove the RV home it was too late in the season for a “camping” trip (not sure if staying in this thing qualifies as camping), so it will sit in the driveway until the end of January. It took Wayne an hour to VERY slowly back the RV into the driveway two feet at a time. We were able to hook up the electricity and put the slides out to do a few things inside, but the dealer winterized it so we cannot use any water. Following are some photos of the inside.
The 400 square foot “Park Model” cottage we rented in Arizona during the winters of 2020 and 2021 was compact but comfortable for the amount of time we were there. I was able to bring my 15″ Rigid Heddle Loom, a big bag of yarn for potential knitting and weaving projects, and a box of items listed for sale on my ETSY shop . The floor plan of the RV is similar but with an even more compact kitchen and less closet and storage space. I will have to think carefully about what fiber supplies I will be able to bring and what projects I can do while travelling or snow birding in the 5th Wheel.
I have had a goal of living smaller with less stuff. Spending two months this winter in the 31′ RV will be a good opportunity to see how that works for me. One of my tasks now this fall is to assemble all the items we will need to use in the RV kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. I am trying to find as many things as I can that we already have or can get at a thrift shop, but it is necessary to buy a few things. At the RV dealer there was a small sales area with things that RV’ers need like special hoses for connecting to utilities, as well as other optional items. I bought an RV sink sized dish drainer there. I resisted the temptation to buy a fake lighted palm tree.
Here is to new adventures ahead!!