Tuesday, August 23

Researched how to use our thermostat for the AC unit.  Have not had a breaker pop since.  Also turned off the AC when we used the microwave today.  No sense in taking the chance and not a bad idea to start good habits.  The solution to the problem of the AC being on all of the time is to move out of Florida.

Switching over to LED bulbs in the RV.  (great writeup and info from 3 different sources)  http://www.doityourselfrv.com/replace-incandescent-halogen-bulbs-leds-rv/

I’ve got my order into M4products.com for a 5 “aluminum plate” led replacement “bulbs”.  

Swimming laps in the pool.  I believe that this is the 5th day of getting in 10 laps in the community pool.  It’s so nice to swim in a pool that I don’t have to maintain!  I only hope that lap swimming will be an option once the campground fills up.

First dinner out with RV park friends (the camp hosts to boot!)  We were very excited to have our first sit down with full-time RV campers and decided to recommend a local restaurant.  It would have been nice to stay home for a cookout but it’s still uncomfortable hot here in Florida.

We got to learn about how they transitioned to full-time life, got their Work Camping positions and what their plans were once this work obligation were over.  They are fun people with big smiles and seem beyond happy to be living the life that they are.  They quieted some of our concerns and bade us quite excited about the opportunities out there.

Poor drainage on the slide out covers.  Need a PVC rack to solve.  Added a project to the to-do list.  While on the roof working on the AC unit I discovered water pooling on the slide out covers.  It has turned into quite the moldy puddle of debris.  On other units in the campground I saw that people had made PVC shelves to slide under the canvas to help with drainage.  The PVC parts and pipe have been purchased, just need to get them built and in place.  

Looking at solutions to the RV wobbling while we are inside.  Looked at chock blocks for the tires and other contraptions. Tripods for the fifth wheel tongue were not highly recommended as the solution on the internet.   Will need to research more and try various options.  Maybe it’s just the nature of living in a home with wheels.  I compare it to being on a boat but the boss is less impressed with a house that wobbles and we walk around.

Thursday, August 25

Planning for the day we hook the RV up to the truck and pull out.

We have been so busy this past year.  Not busy in a bad way but by choice.  These past few days I have come to recognize we have time and space to breath a bit.  Life has become a bit simpler.

Ther RV is settled, and we have become acquainted with some of the nuances of life inside an RV.  Our rental properties seem to have the kinks worked out, rent is on time and the phone is not ringing from our tenants with concerns or complaints. Our jobs are chugging along, providing paychecks that are moving us quickly toward our savings numbers.  Things are good and we are both recognizing it and taking the opportunity to relax a bit.

I am trying to catch up on the website, writing, exercise and reading.  The boss is enjoying the opportunity to slow down and put her feet up a bit more.  Regardless of the tasks at hand, we are both trying to appreciate the situation we are in and be grateful for the opportunities in front of us.

So what is the next step to pull the plug and head down the road?  

The boss has been scouring the Work Camper websites and is excited at all the diverse opportunities and positions available.  (Add list of websites that Christy gave to Kay to look at).  It seems like we can go pretty much anywhere to live for “free” and make a small supplemental income. We were warned at dinner the other night by our friends (the campground hosts) that not all RV parks and campgrounds are created equal and that we are currently staying at one of the better ones they have experienced.

This warning has me a bit hesitant to make a commitment to hosting at a place we have never seen.  We would be basing the decision on camper reviews and would know very little about the owners or managers of the property.  I am positive about very few things but I do know for sure that PEOPLE ARE CRAZY, all in our special little ways.  Good crazy or bad it is a consideration. Hopefully, with time we will run into recommendations and come into contact with more people with more experience that us (any experience).  Hope to learn from their successes and failures.

I want to become a river guide in Idaho (or anywhere beautiful).  Having been to Idaho and seeing the Middle Fork of the Salmon river this is my goal.  It happens to be among the top rated rivers to raft down in the US.  I am assuming there is pretty steep competition to guide on this magnificent river through untouched country.

Here are my hangups with obtaining a guide job:

  1. I have never even been whitewater rafting (small detail?) But how can it not be amazing?
  2. Much like the campground hosting, we will need to pack up and drive ⅔ of the way across the US for an unknown opportunity.
  3. The season for guiding is short and there will be no guarantee of income once we get there.
  4. Guiding in Idaho requires state licensing.  This will require I obtain significant training once we get there (some of the training I might even have to pay for).  That equals an unknown income for an unknown time and additional expenses before the first paycheck.

Despite the hangups, I believe that I am still going to make it happen.  So far I have created a list of all of the outfitters I could find on the internet in the areas that I am interested in working. I have filled out one online application and have yet to hear anything back.  The plan is to just keep plugging away at it until I figure it out.

The boss is supporting me on this crazy idea with the idea being that we will find a location where we can set up camp, she will find a tourism-related job that she enjoys and we will have a crazy first summer on the road.  

The dates for this would be March through August. Then we will ???? The insanity of all of this makes for fun conversations but we are both up to the challenge I think.  Sink or swim (pun intended) It will make for a great life story before it’s all over!

Friday, August 26

??When to hit the road ??

We now live in an RV and continue to work our full-time jobs.

So far the boss and I have stayed busy with “making things happen”.  Making decisions, downsizing, moving into the RV,  settling in, learning about our new “home”.  Now we find ourselves in a position of infinite possibilities but are suffering from a bit of indecision.

The current plan is to hit our financial benchmarks then hit the road.  We are calling the magic benchmark number $30,000 liquid with all debts paid.  Our actual numbers from our estimates are $12,000 cash reserve for road-life rainy day funds (6-months expenses) and then $16,000 cash reserve to protect our rental properties.  We have been back and forth on the numbers quite a bit but always end up back at these approximate figures each time.

Why not save more?  This would be the safest and easiest path.

We have steady employment with decent income and benefits.  Health insurance is covered.  I don’t anticipate seasonal positions on the road paying anywhere near what we are making.  I don’t see a situation where our expenses will be this low again.  If we just kept saving at this rate we could amass quite a pile of cash.  

Why not do this for another year?  

Another 2 years?  

Wouldn’t it be great to hit the road with 3x our anticipated “fall back cash”?  4x?  10x?

I don’t have an answer.  Yes?…. At what cost?

Are we fools to give up the “sure thing” in exchange for a nomad lifestyle?  The math says so.  But i’m not sure living well is all about the math.

I recently read that a “fall back plan” can become an obstacle in achieving goals.  Knowing that a plan B exists provides options and an alternative to success in any endeavor.  I’m not sure I agree but I do understand the logic.  If failure is an option …..well….. Its an option.

Why not hedge all bets against failure?

Conversation with self:

Why not stick with the “sure thing” and amass as much $$ as possible until you are too old to work anymore and then ensure that you have the maximum number of options at all times?

Well….. not taking advantage of any of these options defeats the purpose. 

Are you living to collect options without ever choosing one?

Are you afraid that choosing one option could cause you to miss out on the possibilities of another?.  

Its psycho babble but….it’s a bit real.

Paralysis by analysis.  

The freedom to be able to choose our own path is causing a bit of angst.  We could avoid the discomfort by following societies norms and just continuing with the status quo, collecting money and aging.  Or….  we could continue to follow the path that we have already chosen, stay the course and commit to a new and uncertain life.  A life full of unknown opportunities, challenges and experiences.

Not knowing what is around the next corner is a bit spooky.  It’s also exhilarating and energizing.

I say we stay the course and look forward to the opportunities, challenges and experiences that the path ahead may bring.

I think i just talked myself into hitting the road in March.  I’ll need to run it by the boss.

Rant complete.

Saturday, August 27

RV Toilets are Awsome!

Before I begin I want to throw out a few disclaimers:  

I have only been full time for six weeks and during that time have spent one out of every 3 days away from the RV (at work).  

Also in the past month I was out of town for 1 week.

That said, in the days that I have been at the RV I remain in awe of the steadfast resolve of this porcelain combatant.

THE RV TOILET!

I’m a big guy (6’ 4”,  250lbs) and eat a pretty high protein / high vegetable fiber diet.  As a result I tend to engage in combat with porcelain warriors from time to time.  They often put up a good fight but with the aid of a plunger, some profanity and steadfast determination I ultimately become the victor.

This is not the case with my RV porcelain opponent.  Regardless of what punishment I subject it to the result is always the same.  A quick gulp and flush with a smug reply…..is that all you’ve got.

Of course it is is design perfection.  No trap or J-pipe to slow its movements.  No ornate trinkets or ineffective gadgets to hold it back.  Like a cheetah it is perfectly designed for its role in the wild.

I throw my punches and sprinkle my work with TP confetti.  The challenge has been made.  It’s the Toilets turn.

Its reply is always the same.  A vacant thousand yard stare.  A look of indifference.  It knows that it will be the victor and finds my challenge borring.

The side lever is pushed.

In moments the battle is over and once again the toilet is the victor.  It remains stoic.  No rowdy “in your face” or taunts at my failure to best him.

The RV toilet is a thing to be admired.  We can learn from this inanimate servant of our.  Demonstrated attributes to admire:

  • Humility, service is rendered without comment or expectation of thanks
  • Conditioning:  the toilet knows its place in this world and maintains a constant state of readiness to do its doody/Duty
  • Bravery:  mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty (thank you merriam-webster.com)

RV toilets are awesome!

 

Monday, August 29

Living day to day

A tropical depression is hitting Florida today. Hurricane Hermine.  As with all big weather events the predictions of where are all over the place.  Not a hurricane any more though though, winds are expected to 25 mph with lots of rain.

The storm scare got the attention of our RV park manager and I came home to find our RV tied down with hurricane anchors.   This consists of steel cables anchored to the concrete on the rear 2 support beams under the fifth wheel.  There is another strap on the tongue of the fifth wheel as well.  In not sure if they would overcome significant winds but it’s a nice thought.  (TAKE SOME PICS)  Ahhh…..the joys of summertime in florida.

Currently investigating an RV park side hustle.  I recently overheard a conversation at the park office that an RV exterior wash costs $60.  Now, I am yet to wash an RV but I can’t imagine it taking longer than an hour.  $60 an hour minus the costs of detergent seems like a nice chunk of supplemental travel cash.  I’ll start with mine and leave na update.

The LED conversion went well.  I received my shipment of “plate lamps” with wedge bases.  They installed easily and look great.  http://www.m4products.com/alplate-24-5630-nw-natural-white-double-aluminum-plate/

Note:  Added April 1, 2017 Since changing out the few LED’s from this first round we have gone on to replace all of the bulbs with intentions of dry camping in the future.  Because of the costs associated with replacing so many bulbs, I tried ordering E-bay LED’s.  The cost was 1/10th of the “high-end bulbs”.  We have not had a single problem with the cheaper LED replacements and intend to continue to use the cheap ones in the future.  Money saved is money earned!!

Im struggling with the intent of all of the overhead lights in our RV.  It appears they installed lighting for an operating room in here.  There are double lamps everywhere.  I suppose they just didn’t want anyone complaining about not having enough light.  We plan to replace the bulbs that we use and leave the other bulbs in the less used or not used light fixtures.

We are getting better at managing our electrical use.  We got a bit greedy yesterday and had the AC going, warmed food in the microwave and had the TV on.  All was well until the boss took a shower.  About 2 minutes in the breaker popped.  We are assuming that the addition of the water heater pushed the load over the edge.  At least we recognize the reason and can plan to be more careful in the future.  Still learning.

Another event was the replacement of our bedroom mattress.  This was an unanticipated and unwelcome expense but the boss was insistent.  It seems she does not enjoy the dent I create in the mattress and the pull on her body that that dent creates.  She referred to it as a black hole in the bed where i sleep.  Picky, Picky.

We have had this discussion years ago and the end result was us mattress shopping for our old king sized bed.  It was money well spent and resulted in wonderful sleep for years.  We would have brought that mattress with us if it would have fit. The lesson learned was that the cost of a mattress hurts less over time.  Better we replace our mattress immediately and get it out of the way.

We hit the local mattress stores and tried to avoid laughing at the sales people when they quoted us prices.  THEY HAVE GONE UP IN RECENT YEARS!!  WE did find a mattress that reminded us of our old one but of course it was out of our “mattress budget”.  Out of habit I asked if they had any “scratch and dent” mattresses (not knowing if there even was such a thing).   The salesperson stated that there was a clearance outlet in our area so we gave it a visit.  BINGO!  They had the mattress we liked for half the price.  It had a scuff on the side from where the packaging had torn.  Half price was nice but it was still at the upper end of our budget.  I asked what there best price was to make the sale happen right now.  They came off the price another $175 dollars without any haggling.  SOLD!  And we stayed under under budget.

I still have to purchase fifth wheel hitch for the truck but after that I believe all of our large expenses are out of the way.  We upgraded the chairs and are happy with the bedding.  We have yet to identify anything that is not suiting our needs.  There has been a bit of research on solar panels and an upgrade to the 12-volt system in the RV but that is nothing that we currently NEED.  I would love to not do this upgrade but staying in the RV outside of campgrounds is something we would like to explore.

Currently searching for a new theme for the website so that it looks organized. I can only do some much with the free theme that I am using.  Im quite sure it’s limited by my abilities but something a bit more intuitive and organized to suit my needs would be nice.  Less tech stuff and more content is my goal.

WE continue to work and save. I intend to go back to teaching EMT at a local community college and have been waiting for scheduling of my fingerprinting and drug screen.  Once that is done I will be back in the classroom.  I am looking forward to it for both the income and the experience.  I always enjoyed teaching.

Working out has been going well and the boss is on board as well.  No injuries and we are both feeling great.  

“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please”

-Mark Twain

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