“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” –Jim Rohn –

Change is hard.  Duh.  If it were easy, we would all be doing it…..all the time.  What makes change even harder?  STUFF!  The stuff that I’ve worked for, accumulated, collected, stacked up, stored away, dusted and moved from place to place has become…..well….a pain in my ass.  I’m surrounded by years of purchases.  Things that I haven’t seen in years. Things that I look at and think “what the hell did I buy that for”?  Although the sheer volume of crap is currently gumming up my Feng Shui, I am slowly envisioning my life without these things.  And though I have moments of intense attachment anxiety towards those tiny useless salt cellars that I bought for all of those dinner parties that I was going to have, I will let it go.  Just Let It Go.  What else have I learned?  No one else wants your crap either.

Now that that is out of the way…let me tell you a little bit about owning an RV.  The things I’ve learned so far:

As soon as you drive it home, something will stop working.  But hopefully you will have purchased from a reputable RV dealer that will not just say “well, drive it back up here and we’ll look at it”.  So, my first piece of advice is to buy close to home, so you can take it back over there and make them fix it.  In my case I was lucky enough to have a brother-in-law that came to my rescue so that we could avoid the ugly breakdown that I was on the verge of having.  No One Wants To See That.  Anyway, if your leveling jacks will not go down and your room slides will not work as soon as you get home:

1.  There is hidden access in one of your storage compartments that contain your hydraulic system.  Mine was behind a small carpeted hatch that just came open by removing 1 screw.  Apparently a small bolt came loose when I drove it home.  Thanks to Brad, he found it and fixed it and viola!  Everything worked again.  I’m not sure why the dealer didn’t think to have me look at this or even show it to me when we went through the walk thru, but oh well.  I hope everyone has a useful relative like I do.

2.  Every RV is different…kind of like a snow flake!  While there are tons of forums, articles and YouTube videos to help out a new RV owner, finding one for your specific set up can be like finding a needle in a grain silo full of hay.  You will need to just piece together information from other owners experience.  Even calling the manufacturers can be helpful, but in the end, you may need to improvise.

3.  Where oh where is my fresh water tank?  My fresh water tank is in a cabinet in the bedroom, concealed by faux doors that were screwed shut.   I only found it after finding a comment on an RV forum that had theirs in the same location.  And luckily my drain valve was right next to it.  I had read many articles about the importance of sanitizing your fresh water tank and I fretted over the specifics of how to do this for WAY too long.    Bottom line…I finally just used a funnel and poured the recommended amount of bleach directly into my water hose before hooking it up to my freshwater tank and filling  it up.   Then drain and rinse, drain and rinse!  My parents didn’t even want to kill me for using so much water.

4.  There is a small switch located by my steps that turn off the battery connection for the generator. How it got turned off is a mystery but, thanks to mom for figuring it out.  Another crisis averted.

5.  Accessories are our friends.  I installed vent covers for both of my ceiling vents.  You can purchase these thru Walmart for much less than at an RV dealer.  (Plus, you get free shipping). These are useful so that you do not have to worry about closing your vents if it rains and extremely easy to install.  I also added bug screens to the hot water heater vents and the refrigerator vents, also available from Walmart.com.  Sam’s club sells RV toilet paper for a whole lot less than you can buy it from an RV dealer!  Who knew?  Walmart also has a small section of RV accessories in the store.  It is way back by the car stuff….they have: water hoses (make sure the one for your fresh water is designated for drinking), cleaning supplies, black water deodorizers, mirrors, step covers, etc…

Today is another day of packing and moving things.  I’m slowly making headway out of the clutter.  I’ll sign off for now with this: “All great changes are preceded by chaos.” -Deepak Chopra –   Wow! Is he right!

 

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East Coast..on down. Here’s the plan for the first leg.

  1. image imageMohican State Park/Ohio
  2. Niagara Falls/New York
  3. Wells Beach/Maine
  4. Bar Harbor/Maine
  5. Old Orchard Beach/Maine
  6. Exploring Cape Cod/Massachusetts 
  7. Washington DC
  8. Jamestown/Williamsburg Virginia
  9. Hilton Head Island/South Carolina
  10. St. Augustine/Florida
  11. Ormond Beach/Florid
  12. Blue Springs State Park/Florida
  13. Fort Wilderness, Disney/Florida
  14. Exploring the Keys/Cudjoe Key, Florida
  15. Everglades/Florida
  16. Fort Myers/Florida
  17. St. Pete Beach/Florida

“Not all those who wander are lost” — J.R.R. Tolkien

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My new RV!

My new RV!

Hi.  My name is Amiee.  I will be turning 50 this year!  Wooop Wooop?  In December, 2013, I was laid off from Indiana University after 26 LONG years allowing them to suck the life right out of me.  It’s taken several months of “rehabilitation” to form myself back into a living, breathing human being.  I still have flash backs, so I think that my mind and my body are still recovering from the trauma of sitting at a desk 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  After months of going through the grieving process…being angry…resentful…sad…scared….depressed..I’m sure there are many more feelings that I went through but , I’ve made it through the rough times and am starting to feel like a human again.  While losing my job has been one of the worst things I have been through in a while, it has also been a blessing.  Sitting at a desk all day every week day, being told when to arrive, when to eat lunch, when to go home, when to take a break, when to go to meetings….blah blah blah, I believe I became a of “Stepford” worker.  My weekends were filled with the must do’s…laundry, grocery shopping, lawn mowing, etc…  I lived for those once a year vacations that made my life worth living.

I have always loved to travel, to experience new things, new cultures and OH, the food!  I loved almost everything about traveling…with the exception of the “getting there” part.  Plane travel is HARD!  Those of us that travel  know that “getting there” is the most difficult part, but it has always been worth it, in my eyes.  No amount of flight delays, bad weather, sickness or encounters with mean people has ever dampened my love of travel.   I have travelled all over the world and the U.S., but most of the places I’ve visited here, I was just to young to appreciate  or remember.  My mom has this same wanderlust.  I think I may have inherited that from her.  She has always wanted to  just get a camper, hop in and go.  We talked a lot about doing just that, since I got laid off.

After many months of unsuccessful job searching and semi successful soul searching  I decided to turn my misfortune into an opportunity of a life time.  So, I’ve sold my home and am in the process of selling most of my furniture and belongings.  I purchased a Forest River, Georgtown 34-ft. RV.   WHAT?  Yes, I did.  You think I’m crazy don’t you?  Well, my dad thinks so too!  But, I don’t think I’m crazy, I think that for the first time in a long, long time, I’m actually starting to feel something!  Even if it’s being scared…or feeling joy, or both at the same time.  I believe that I had lost myself at that desk.  To the point where I was just going through the motion of living.  When your days are filled with the same mundane tasks…I think you forget, except for those  two precious weeks of vacation time a year, what it’s like to live…really live.  That’s my excuse anyway!  So, here’s the plan:  We are going to travel for a year and see the country.  And after that?  I don’t know.  On this adventure, I may just find out what it is that I want to do when I grow up.

I’m starting this blog because I want to document my experience.  I picked up my RV last month and have already learned many things!   I’m going to try to write about the people we meet, places that we visit, experiences that I have and of course the things I find to eat!  So, This is the beginning of a wonderful adventure, a new beginning and a chance to experience this with my parents….which of course is priceless to me.   I hope that my experience will insight others to start their own adventure.  My trip begins on Sept. 30th, but I’ll share what I’ve already learned in my next post.  Happy Trails!