RV-Renovation-New-Walls-header

Holy cow. Has it really been three weeks already?

Holy cow. Has it only been three weeks?

Well here I am, a little late with our weekly update, but today’s post is coming to you live from renovation headquarters! (Well this post was started when I was sitting there…more on that a little bit later)

RV-Renovation-HeadquartersIt’s so hard to decide if it feels like things are taking forever or that time is passing by so quickly I can barely keep up!. At times it’s hard not to feel frustrated that we aren’t further along but on the other hand I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot in a short amount of time! When I left off last, we were preparing to do more window sealing and button up a few items on the exterior that were possible leak culprits. The good news is we tackled most of those projects this past week.

RV-Back-Corner-Sealing

We successfully have the back corner looking all nice and pretty! The new exterior outlet for the stove vent hood was installed this past week and keeps water out like a champ.

RV-Vent-Replacement

Matt also hopped up on the roof and applied the Dicor lap sealant around the antenna. Seriously, if you need to seal up your roof, go with that stuff. It’s awesome.

RV-Roof-SealingWe also pulled out the other two back windows and got those back in and resealed with Pro Flex sealant. If you remember last week, I mentioned sealing our first window with clear silicone. While I don’t want this blog to be full of technical details, I do want to make sure we share the best possible information, so I’m going to talk about RV sealant for a minute.

(Skip this paragraph if you have no intentions of sealing an RV anytime in the near future) 😉 In my initial research, I came to the conclusion that Pro Flex RV sealant was the best choice on the market for the job. However, they didn’t have any in stock at Camping World, so we were told to just go pick up some silicone from the hardware store. Well, after reading my last post, a nice gentleman informed me that silicone is not the way to go. Great…so I dug a little deeper and came to the conclusion that silicone isn’t a great choice for RVs because its adhesion properties aren’t the best, it attracts dirts, and when it starts to compromise (which it will), you have to completely remove it before reapplying; which I’ve learned is a huge PITA. So, we returned all of the “clear silicone” and used Pro Flex for the other two windows. I think we’ll be ok on the one window we already did since we actually used Lexel, which is a clear silicone alternative. It has great reviews, and since we’ll be painting the exterior, you won’t really be able to tell a difference between the Lexel and Pro Flex. Phew, really dodged a bullet there! Ok, back to the fun stuff.

On Saturday I did a silly thing and wished for buckets of rain. I wanted to make sure the windows and roof were sealed up nice and tight so we wouldn’t have any surprises post painting. Well, I got my wish.

RV-More-Water-Leaks

Hey! Looky there, leaks!…. Back up to the roof and corner we go this week with a little more sealant. However, while we weren’t really too surprised to see water there, we were VERY disappointed when this appeared.

RV-Windows-STILL-Leaking

WHAT?! Water at the corner of the window?? How could this be? My first thought was, “Crap, now I have to eat my hat”. It was quickly followed by complete and utter confusion because we had thoroughly soaked the window and it had stayed completely dry.

giphy-1

After wracking our brains for several minutes the only thing we could possibly think of was the water was somehow coming in through the exterior metal seams and running up to the edge of the window. There aren’t any rain gutters along the roof edge, so when it’s raining really hard, water just pours down the sides, and quite a bit was near the window.tumblr_mar8uurzoF1qbl3a8

What happened next was not photographed because it was both hilarious and tragic and very wet all at the same time. We went outside in the pouring rain to apply the Pro Flex sealant to the exterior seams. I couldn’t really find any advice on doing such a thing, but I figured, “Hey, what’s the worst that can happen?”. We can always remove it (since I’m such a pro at that task these days) and at least we’d be able to see if the seams were in fact our problem. The Pro Flex says that it can be applied in damp conditions, so we set up a makeshift tarp along the side to try and keep the rain out. The plan was for me to dry the area while Matt went behind me with the caulk gun. This worked for about 30 seconds before the rag got too wet to dry and then it just turned into a circus of trying to get the Pro Flex to stick to the wet surface. It was very frustrating. After what seemed like ages of being completely soaked, the seams got buttoned up enough to test and see if our efforts were going to be rewarded. We dried the two wet spots inside and played the waiting game. Sure enough, it worked and stayed dry for the next several hours while the rain continued! The bad news is, since the application conditions were so poor, I’m going to need to go back and do a better job at making sure things are even.

I actually started this blog post a week ago, but I’ve been waiting to publish until I could find some conclusive answer to our panel sealing. The internet was pretty elusive, and I wasn’t able to find other people having metal seam issues or solving them by sealing. I kept looking and came up empty, so I took my question to a Vintage RV group where I found that other people had done this! So onward we go with our plan, and hopefully this will be our last dance with leaks for a while!

In news not related to leaks or sealing or seams (thank goodness), we’ve made quite a bit of progress on getting the walls and cabinets back together!

RV-Wall-ReplacementThis sure is a change from the last time we showed this area! Motorhome-Cabinet-Rebuild

Look at that pretty new cabinet front! Matt is an expert luan cutter at this point and has been doing such a great job with the reconstruction.

We’re at a bit of a renovation standstill at the moment because this blog post is actually now coming to you from Kenedy, TX. Our original plan was to stay in Arkansas through Christmas and come to south Texas in January, but as life goes, sometimes plans change. My sweet grandma passed away last week so we made a quick trip this past weekend for the funeral and decided to make the most of the drive by staying for Christmas. We’ll be here until the 26th, and then we’ll head back to Arkansas and take advantage of some vacation time and get some solid days dedicated to the renovation! Until then we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

 

-Kate

rv-exterior-wall-fix

Well here I am on a Monday writing our weekly recap and I can hardly believe it! When I last left off we were just beginning to dry out from days of rain. I am happy to report that it’s been nice and sunny and still no chances of showers until Sunday. Woohoo!

So what did we get done this week? Well, as planned, our main focus was figuring out how to seal the leaks that appeared during the Thanksgiving Monsoon of 2015. We also had a bit more demolition to do, so during the week, I made friends with a crowbar and ripped out the back wall!RV-Wall-RemovalEver wonder what’s behind a RV wall? Answer: Not much. These things are built pretty simply. Just a little framing, some insulation (which isn’t that great) and some thin luan board. I managed to get the back wall ripped out all by myself while Matt worked and was pretty proud of my accomplishment. kate-motorhome-wall-removalOn Saturday we did some errand running to pick up supplies. We had a few things to take care of around the house so we didn’t get quite as much done as we hoped but made up for it on Sunday when we really got rolling!

We got to work right away and removed the window that seemed to be the leakiest. It was surprisingly easy to get that bad boy out. After slicing the caulk and removing some screws we were left with a nice gaping hole.

rv-window-removalSince I’m not an RV expert (yet anyways) 😉 I took to the Internet to learn about windows. After a bit of research this past week, I was left with a few different ideas as to what might be causing the water leaks. The easy option was that it was coming through the cracked caulk and old butyl tape or rusty screws. The more difficult option was that the windows themselves might be compromised, requiring us to dismantle them and replace the seals. Since we weren’t sure exactly what we were dealing with we decided to try one window out with the “easy option” to see what happened.

And by easy, I mean a lot more time-consuming than I thought because DANG, the old butyl tape and sealant took a while to remove. rv-window-removal-butyl-tapeI ended up taking over Operation De-Gunk and used various methods of scrubbing, grinding, and scraping. I took my job very seriously because with anything – your effort matches your results – and I sure didn’t want them to leak again because I did a poor job and left remnants behind. After what seemed like hours I got the window and wall clean and ready to go back in! First we put the new butyl tape on, which if you don’t know what butyl tape is, it’s basically squishy putty in tape form. replace-butyl-tape-rv-windowNext it was time to put the window back in and replace the old rusty screws with bright new shiny ones! We also added a dab of clear silicone when installing the screws to give a little extra leak protection.seal-rv-window-motorhomeWe then re-sealed the edges with the clear silicone and played the waiting game to see if our easy job did the trick! More on that in a minute…

As with anything that’s almost 40 years old, Mobi needed a little love and we knew we had a bit of work cut out for us to get him put back together again. Our other big exterior project was some body work on the drivers side back corner. Even given the exterior damage, Mobi was still in better shape than most of the older motorhomes we came across during our search. repair-motorhome-exterior-cornerAfter Matt removed the corner trim, I got to work scrubbing and scraping off the old silicone and putty tape. In case you’re wondering, it was just as time-consuming as the windows. While I was working cleaning, Matt figured out how to replace and add structural support to screw the metal back together. Hooray!rv-removing-butyl-taple-siliconeWe’re waiting to add the trim piece on until tomorrow when we have some daylight, but so far it looks like Humpty Dumpty will be all put back together again just like new. :) Since my cleaning took longer than Matt’s structural work he had time to cut new insulation for the back wall. We were really lucky that all the wall supports were still in great shape and not affected by any leaks. Things are really looking up in here!rv-wall-removal-insulation-replacementJust in case you thought I forgot about the window you’re in luck, I didn’t! This afternoon we hooked up a hose and drenched the window for several minutes. testing-water-leak-rv-windowI’m happy to report that we are leak free!!!! I’m pretty sure we put enough water on it to simulate inches of rain, so I’ll eat my hat if we’re surprised by water any time soon. This is great news and means I’ve got a lot of scrubbing and cleaning in my future!

Our next goals are to re-seal the remaining windows, patch around the roof antenna and replace a few exterior items like vents that are letting water in. We’re hoping to get the remaining interior walls cut and installed this weekend. Fingers crossed that everything goes according to plan so I can finally start painting!

 

Until next week!

 

-Kate

 

rv-renovation-week-1_new

The renovation has begun! I made the proclamation on Facebook that I hope to do weekly updates each Monday as we progress, so here is the first one. Better late than never!

Last week we said goodbye to downtown Little Rock and moved about 20 minutes down the road to Matt’s parents house. November proved to be our most social month of RVing yet. The Downtown Riverside RV park is a happening place! We had a wonderful time seeing old friends, meeting up with internet friends (Spot the Scotts and Open Road Chronicles) for the first time, and making new friends! One of Matt’s coworkers, who also travels full-time and blogs about it, arrived at the RV park a few days after we did. I had a wonderful time getting to know his wife and hanging out with their adorable, almost 2 year old. We also happened to cross paths with our friends Julie and Wendell who we met last year in a rain storm during our stay in Little Rock. They were our first true RV friends we had met on the road, so after staying in touch for the last year it was fun to see them again! I feel like this past month has been just the tip of the iceberg of the social fun we’re going to have as we become more mobile.

We technically kicked the renovation off Friday morning when Matt started pulling up the carpet. What a difference! It’s almost like the carpet sucks the light from the room and once it’s removed the space suddenly looks larger. Maybe someone who’s scientific can explain that one to me. 😉rv-renovation-carpet-removalWe were pleasantly surprised to find that Mobi was originally outfitted with linoleum flooring! Anyone who has ever removed RV carpet will know how exciting this is because it means we have a nice smooth surface to lay the new stuff over. It was in really great shape so I’m not exactly sure why someone would have wanted to add carpet, but to each their own, I’m just glad I won’t be ripping out hundreds of staples!

As predicted, we had a rain filled weekend. At first I was pretty bummed that we were expected to stay drenched, but as the weekend progressed I realized it probably was for the best that it rained non-stop.soggy-vintage-motorhomeIf it wouldn’t have been for the rain we wouldn’t have been able to identify the problem areas, so it was really a blessing in disguise. Our first find was right behind the oven. We already knew the wall was damaged but weren’t entirely sure how it gotten that way until we removed the vent hood. I mean really…how can that be ok to just let water run in like this?rv-leaky-vent-hood-outletA big chunk of our Saturday was spent at Home Depot picking up the majority of supplies we needed. We made a trip to Lowe’s Sunday because we switched up our flooring choice and are trying a new different product called SMARTCORE. Like the Allure planks it is 100% waterproof but seems a little lighter despite how rigid and thick it is. We’re also going an extra step and installing an underlayment first (which we wished we would have done in Lucille) and I think it’s going to make a big temperature difference on the tootsies.rv-remodel-hardware-store-runOnce we arrived back with the new materials the first things to go in were the new dinette support boards. The ones previously there were splintery particle board and weren’t the sturdiest. Since we’ll be spending most of our time in this little section I wanted to make sure it was solid.motorhome-dinette-renovationAfter removing the damaged wall behind the oven and doing quite a bit of demo on the cabinets, we were left with nothing but a few bones. Since we had just picked up the new sink I was anxious to do a test fit to see how it would work. Who knew I’d ever be so excited for something to do dishes in!rv-renovation-sink-fittingWe also took the flooring and countertops for a test run to see how they looked.rv-renovation-floorIn my renovation plans post I discussed wanting walnut countertops. Well, after realizing the $99 material I was looking at was only 4″ wide and made for a backsplash, I checked online for actual countertop material and sent out for a quote. When it came back at over $500 I decided I would need to find a more budget friendly route and so I settled on simple pine that will be stained. I even did a little research and remembered a blog I’ve followed for years actually did the very same thing. Considering the new countertops were less than $75 I think it’s a worthy trade off and I’m sure it will look just as lovely.rv-remodel-countertopThroughout the weekend we only found one leaky spot in the roof (through the antenna hole) but found out the old windows are the sneakiest culprit. It even took us until last night to realize just how much water was coming in behind the laminate, so we started tearing out those panels and will replace with a new luan that will be smooth and ready for paint.wf-motorhome-water-damage-windowAll in all it was a successful first weekend. While we don’t feel like we accomplished a lot, we feel like we have a pretty good plan of attack for things that need to be done. Hopefully this week we’ll be able to get the remaining demolition done and this upcoming weekend looks to be free from any precipitation so getting all of the leaks sealed up will be our biggest priority.

In other news I had a bit of time to play around in Photoshop and mock up the ideas that have been floating around in my brain. :) Who knows if this is exactly where we’ll end up but I think it will be pretty close! If only I could snap my fingers and make it happen just as fast as the gif does it!wf-rv-renovation-before-after-mockupUntil next week!

 

-Kate

 

 

1977-Dodge-Travel-Mate-Exterior

We have a whale of a tour for you today! Haha – get it? Mobi….a whale… 😉 We’ve had a few people ask how we picked the name Mobi. It wasn’t a super scientific process but his short and squatty stature made us think of the loveable sea creature who roams the ocean. Plus since it’s so mobile we thought Mobile Mobi fit the bill.

Ok moving on…hooray Friday! I am so excited to take you through a photo walk-through and give a rundown of the plans we have for our new little project. Come on inside and take a tour!

1977-Dodge-Travel-Mate-Rear-Dinette

This shot looking back gives a pretty accurate picture of how much space we’re working with. The U shape dinette and the rotating table is handy since it lets us get in and out – I’m thinking we could fit at least 5 bodies back there for dinner and when it’s just us two we can stretch out our legs and lounge. Speaking of lounging, as with most RV’s, the table lowers to create a “bed”. We’re really excited about having a relaxing little area where we can chill out and unwind at the end of the day.

And here we have a full-monty panorama shot looking towards the cab. This probably gives you the best idea of how the layout works. To the left of the fridge is the closet and to the right is the bathroom.

1977-Dodge-Travel-Mate-Interior

Coming up next is the spacious closet. Seriously though, I’m shocked at the amount of storage in this tiny little space.

1977-Dodge-Travel-Mate-Closet

And here is the lovely wet bath.

1977-Dodge-Travel-Mate-Wet-Bath

Towards the beginning of our motorhome search, having a separate shower was a huge concern of mine. It wasn’t until I saw wet baths were more common in the small spaces that I started warming up to the idea. I did a bit of research on living with one and found it didn’t seem to be as horrible as I first thought. Plus the space we’re saving is pretty significant so I think the trade-off is worth it.

1977-Dodge-Travel-Mate-Interior-Rear-View

The kitchen area!! Second to size of the RV, finding the perfect kitchen was the next factor in the search. I really love to cook and if anything I cook more now than when we lived in our old sticks and bricks house. Finding an area that would continue to be comfortable to prepare meals was huge.

1977-Dodge-Travel-Mate-Kitchen

Our current plan is to add two drop down sections on each side of the countertop so I can pop them up and have more space if needed. We’re also going to replace the sink with a single basin to create more counter space between the sink and the stove.

Look at the storage!!

1977-Dodge-Travel-Mate-Kitchen-Storage

Here’s the view of the driving and sleeping area! It’s a little tight but I think we’ll be able to make it comfy enough to get a little shut-eye. 1977-Dodge-Travel-Mate-Cab

Now on to the really fun stuff! Our renovation plans! I’ve been pinning my little heart out over on Pinterest to get my head around plans for the interior. Up front, I had a good idea of the direction I wanted to go in terms of the look and feel and what better way to organize all of your ideas in one place than Pinterest! If you’ve followed us for a while you probably remember I did something similar last year when we were renovating Lucille!

Mobi-Interior-Inspiration

  1. Kitchen backsplash and faucet: I’m a sucker for a white subway tile backsplash. I’ve seriously considered going that route again but I think it would be nice to change it up and bit and try something different. I found these really great peel and stick metal tiles and I think they’ll be perfect. Our current kitchen faucet is such a delight that I wanted something very similar and found this gorgeous one in black. The high springy arch makes doing dishes a breeze and since it’s hand wash city around these RV parts it is totally worth the splurge.
  2. Plants: It’s no secret that plants are really important to me for our home on wheels. I think they add so much beauty to your space and they’re supposed to make your air clean right? Win win! I found this cool idea and want to do some sort of wall mount to keep plants secure while we travel.
  3. Bedding: Since our sleeping quarters will be visible at all times I’m on the hunt for something awesome. I’m really digging this print right now!
  4. Cabinets: Swoon. This kitchen gives me all the feels. We love the decision we made to paint Lucille’s cabinets white. It really lightened up the whole space and they have held up great. We still plan to keep the uppers light and breezy but I’m feeling something a bit more dramatic for the lower cabinets.
  5. Countertop and Cabinet Pulls: I’m craving a little more warmth this time around and since the countertop needs to be replaced we’re going to go with a walnut butcher block. I found these gold pulls and think they’ll be perfect. They’re recessed which translates to us not getting hung on them while walking by in the more narrow hallway.
  6. Stovetop: When Vintage Revivals was doing the Nugget Renovation I had a blast seeing how someone who traditionally renovates homes took on a travel trailer remodel. The way it turned out was so lovely and when I saw her idea of powder coating the stove top I stored it in my brain for the day that we may have a future project.
  7. Colors: I’ve had a thing for Kilim for a while. I found this awesome pillow cover on Etsy and scooped it up since it was the only one. We aren’t really planning on a specific color palette, just a fun mix of warm tones.
  8. Flooring: Our vinyl plank flooring has worked out great! It’s so nice to not have any carpet since our hairy beasts like to shed a lot. We’re going the same route again only in a lighter shade!

And there you have it! What we’re starting with and a pretty good look into our renovation brain. :) It’s so nice to have a really solid thought foundation to build on before tackling a new project.

We can’t wait to get started!

1977-Dodge-Travel-Mate

IMG_2352-header

We shared some big news this weekend on Facebook and Instagram! There’s a new member of the Wheeled and Free Family! A 1977 Dodge Sportsman Travel Mate!

This is the story of our little motorhome Mobi and how he came to be.

1977 Dodge Mobile Traveler_2

For most people, this idea will probably seem like it’s coming from left field. Why in the world would we ever think of getting something else when we have a spacious, comfy home on wheels? It almost seemed as crazy to me as when we first tossed around the idea of RVing full-time. In fact, in my initial research for full-timing, I read that people often feel they start out too small and end up going to a larger RV – not the opposite way around.

So why would we want to go smaller?

When we downsized last year to our 36′ fifth wheel, it was a life changing experience. Since I’ve been a horrible blogger, I haven’t really posted much of our journey, but the short story is that it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Full-time RVing has allowed us to experience life in a way we really never thought possible. As cliché as it might sound, we’re living life to gain experiences instead of things. Even though 2015 didn’t turn out as we had expected, it has grown each of us and our relationship with each other stronger. This past year also really sealed the deal that we can live with even less, since we spent several months living out of suitcases while staying with people who kindly accommodated us while I was incapacitated.

Initially, we started tossing around the idea of getting a smaller travel trailer a while back – something that would be easy to take on shorter, long trips – but then ultimately landed on a motorhome after also considering a slide in truck camper. One of the reasons we decided on a small class C is so I will be able to drive (since I’m not big on the idea of pulling Lucille) while giving Matt a space to comfortably work, thus opening up our days for travel to anytime instead of just the weekends. This got kicked into high gear once we realized instead of waiting a couple of years to try this crazy idea, we should give it a shot now and find something before our big trip out west in 2016. Once we made up our minds it was time to start searching.

We sifted through thousands of RVs nationwide just like we did when we were on the hunt for Lucille. Looking through so many RVs quickly narrows down what features you’re looking for and what you’re not interested in. Right off the bat we knew we wanted something shorter than 23′ for ease of mobility and something in good enough shape that we would be able to “quickly” renovate before heading out west. One of the big changes this time around was we were actually not looking for slides. We LOVE the three slides that Lucille has and it gives us a great amount of living space, but it also adds to the setup time and isn’t super great for quick overnight stops. Out of all the motorhomes we found, only a small fraction of them really piqued our interest. From that group there were probably about 15-20 that we thought might work for us and the pups. Then, on a Sunday, I found THE ONE.

1977 Dodge Mobile Traveler_3

I had been a little bummed because we had just had video walk through the day before with a cute little motorhome in Illinois that we were seriously considering. Even though it would have been a 14 hour drive round trip, it seemed promising and worth the effort. After the walk through though, it was pretty clear it was going to be more work than we initially thought, so we passed, knowing that something else would come along. The next day, I was doing my daily Craigslist search when I came across an ad only four hours old – in Little Rock of all places – for a small motorhome that looked absolutely perfect. The ad said, “1977 Dodge RV, Good Old Camper, too many new parts to mention. If you’re looking for a well-kept older camper at the right price; then look no further.”. The layout seemed to be just what we were looking for and the price was within our budget. I emailed the seller right away since there was no phone number listed and waited very impatiently for a reply. Almost 24 hours passed with no response. At this point I was feeling down, thinking it had already sold or maybe the seller had gotten so inundated with spam emails that somehow mine had gotten missed, so I sent another email in hopes that my urgency would spur a response. A few hours later there was still no reply but everything suddenly took a VERY interesting turn.

While Matt was on the phone with his mom that evening, his brother happened to overhear them talking and piped in asking if we were still looking for a motorhome. Earlier that day on the way to his in-laws, his brother happened to see a small RV for sale and thought we might be interested. It turns out as he was giving the description to Matt, it was in fact the exact one I had found on Craigslist. In all of Little Rock – which is not a small city – he happened to drive by the one motorhome that I just knew was perfect for us. As Frasier Crane would say, “It was kismet.” He proceeded to give us directions on how to get there and we hopped in the truck at almost 9:00pm to go grab the phone number off the sign so I could call them first thing the next day. When we arrived there was no number so I took my chances and went and knocked on the door. I was greeted by the nicest guy who was more than happy to give us a tour and let us take it for a spin. We were elated and made plans to come back the next day with Matt’s dad who is a mechanical genius, just so he could give us a thumbs up that everything seemed solid. After a thorough inspection we left a deposit and made plans to pick up our new bundle of joy this past weekend. I’m still blown away with how things worked out. It’s crazy how sometimes everything just falls into place and reassures you even more that you’re headed in the right direction.

1977 Dodge Mobile Traveler_4

So where do we go from here? Our current plan is to fix Mobi up and switch traveling between him and Lucille. We had so much fun with our last renovation we’re really excited to tackle a new one. Since Lucille will stay safely tucked away in storage, we’ll have a nice large home to come back to when we feel the need to spread out and have a little extra space. We’ve been joking that it’s almost like having a vacation home from our vacation home. 😉 Given the small size of 18 feet we will be able to travel and stay anywhere and everywhere and are looking forward to boondocking out west where public land is prevalent. Our goal is to get out, see even more, and spend time chasing delightful weather while exploring the great outdoors.  We’re thrilled for the new opportunities that this is going to bring!

Stay tuned for a photo tour later this week. We can’t wait to share every nook and cranny with you!

 

IMG_0620800

Well, it’s been a while. 

I’d like to say my lack of blogging has been from a lack of time, but that wouldn’t really be the truth. I’m going to be honest for a minute and get my thoughts out there before jumping into a recap of the last 11 months.

I lost my blog passion. Not so much about ours, but reading the blogs that used to inspire me to want to blog. Most of the home renovation blogs that I used to read have all but fizzled out, and the blogging scene (except for other rvers) has changed so much in the last several years. I think social media has had a lot to do with the change since it’s so easy to quickly share a photo on Instagram or Facebook, which basically does same thing as a blog post. I also have been too much of a perfectionist when it comes to blogging. I wanted every word and punctuation to be perfect before posting which often translated to a single post taking 6 hours or more.

So, from here out, don’t expect perfection. :) I’m not an English major so I’m going to write like I talk and be done with it. You’ve been warned.

With all of that said, I do still want to share our journey. Being sidelined for the last eight months left me feeling like I didn’t have much to share, since we weren’t traveling full-time, but now that we’re on the road again there are lots of adventures ahead and we couldn’t be more excited!

Since it has been so long since we’ve been here I’m going to back track the last 11 months at lightening speed.

January and February: Whoa, these months were a blur. We set out at the beginning of the year for our great adventure of 2015. We made a couple of quick stops in Houston, TX and Lake Charles, LA and then made our way over to Alabama. We enjoyed hanging out at our favorite campground near Birmingham and spent time prepping the bike for my first race. At the end of February, we headed to Roebling Road Raceway for the weekend that changed our entire year. If you’ve followed along on Instagram or Facebook you probably saw that my first race was a bust and my ankle got pretty beat up. If you didn’t, the short story is that I fractured my talus, (which is basically the worst bone you can break in your ankle) spent four days in the hospital, and our travel plans for 2015 were trashed. We were given the news in the hospital that I was not going to be able to walk for three months and should expect to need physical therapy once I did start walking again, so there was a long road ahead. I want to write an entire blog post devoted to the whole injury and recovery experience but that’s a story for another day.

10984113_10206008775489094_3155349621479558304_n

March: Up front I would like to say that we have amazing friends and family. The support we were given this past year has been incredible and we are so thankful. It made life so much easier having people to lean on during a time that would have been much harder without them. Right after my accident we were in a bit of a pickle because getting in and out of the RV was pretty much impossible for me. If necessary, we could have made it work, but it would have been really hard – especially since our bathroom is up two large steps. Our friends in Alabama graciously offered to let us come stay with them while I improved. We were there almost a whole month before I finally felt up to being able to travel. Since we knew for the next few months I would need to be seeing a doctor and doing physical therapy we decided to go back to Texas where we would be able be near family.

April-June: We spent the better part of six months hanging out in San Antonio. For the first couple of months we actually stayed in my parents house since I was still pretty much wheelchair bound. However, even though we weren’t doing any RV traveling, we didn’t give up our spirit of wanderlust entirely.

IMG_0091_

 

We took advantage as much as possible of only being a couple of hours away from the beach in Corpus Christi and once I got the all clear to start weight-bearing in June, we made a several week trip to Alabama and back in the truck.

IMG_0334

While we were in Birmingham we magically found out a few hours before hand that Garth Brooks was playing and managed to grab some tickets. It was extremely fun! We even made the most of our little excursion by dropping by Gulf Shores on our way back to Texas.

IMG_0418_
IMG_0425It was my first time seeing a white, sugary beach and I loved it!

July-September: Once we got back to Texas we took the RV on a mini little trip up to the Hill Country in Ingram, TX. We had only planned to go for the weekend and attend a family reunion but ended up staying almost three weeks. It was a pain to drive an hour and a half to physical therapy, but we enjoyed our time away so much. Being back in our little home was refreshing and the scenery wasn’t too bad either.

IMG_0512_

IMG_0620I finally finished up physical therapy in August and had my last doctors appointment of the year on September 8th! I was given the all clear to return back to normal life and have been working on that ever since.

IMG_0835

My last day of physical therapy!

October – We’ve been back on the road since the end of September and have been loving every second. We did a bunch of projects around the RV during our relaxing stay on the lake in Alabama and had a blast hanging our with our Bama friends and having a big ol party weekend for the 11th Annual Barber Vintage Festival. Just a few days ago we set out and landed in Little Rock, AR where we’ll be for the next month. IMG_1387

That pretty much sums up most of the major milestones from the last 11 months! It’s hard to believe 2015 has gone by so quickly and we even hit our 1 year anniversary of full-timing back in September! I have so much more to blog about, but there’s plenty of other posts for that.

Long story short, we’re thrilled to be back to normal life and we’re looking forward to all of the new adventures that 2016 has to bring!

Thanks for sticking around during our time away from blog world! :)

 

 

 

 

DSC018981200

Christmas 2014. How in the world is it the end of the year already? With visits to friends and family, travel from Little Rock to Dallas and now to San Antonio, November and December have FLOWN by! We have lots of catching up to do on this ol’ blog, but I thought it would be fun to fast forward to where we are now and share the holiday decorations we put up around the RV.

Full-Time-RV-Christmas-Mini-Tree

Our first full-time Christmas has been especially memorable because it’s allowed us to be both in our home and also around family! The ability to pick up and move to various parts of the country has been absolutely amazing. We didn’t decorate our house for Christmas last year because we weren’t home for the holidays, so I had an extra fun time thinking of ways to add holiday cheer this year. We even have a real tree – my first real tree in life I can remember! :)

RV-Christmas-Entertainment-Center-Decor

Since our space it pretty small, but open, it was easy to add holiday touches all around; they even made it into the kitchen!

RV-Remodel-Kitchen-Christmas

When we arrived at my parents house, where we’re staying for the next few weeks, Matt surprised me and set up all of the lights outside. We purchased the big colorful globes to use year round, but it’s so exciting to have them up for Christmas.

RV-Christmas-Outside-LightsEven Scout approves of our little patio setup. 😉

RV-Christmas-Lights-AwningWe have so much to be thankful for this year. 2014 has been a wild ride, and we couldn’t be happier with where life has brought us. Thanks to each and every one of you who are following along on this little journey of ours. We appreciate your encouragement and support and wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

-Kate

 

 

rv-remodel-bedroom-renovation800

 

surprising-things-about-rv-living

Anyone who has spent a short amount of time in an RV can probably attest to these revelations I’ve made in the last couple of months, but I thought it would be fun to break some of the typical stigmas surrounding RV life.

You can actually have glassware.

use-glass-in-rv

This has probably been the biggest surprise to me so far during our time on the road. When downsizing, I ditched most of our glassware. I only kept a handful of breakable items I assumed we’d be replacing with plastic, which caused me not to be overly cautious when storing them. The photo above is how our glasses hang out in the cup drawer, with no special padding or dividers. This cavalier attitude has led to the discovery that these items aren’t as fragile as I once thought. So far in our 1300 miles, we haven’t run into one problem. In fact, the only broken glass we’ve had was due to my clumsiness when I knocked my favorite mug on the floor. :(

You can have decorations/plants.

have-plants-in-rv

When we first started on our full-time journey, I knew this wouldn’t be something I’d compromise on. Our home on wheels would have plants, no matter what. It’s been surprisingly easy to work them around traveling. When it’s time to pack up, I just put them someplace safe. This could be on the bed, in the sink, etc. Once we arrive where we’re going, I simply put them back in their spots. The various decor that sits around on surfaces also follows a similar routine. I have a few soft bins where everything goes during travel. If you don’t intend on moving things, Museum Putty works really well to keep items in place!

You can make wonderful meals in your RV kitchen.

cooking-with-rv-kitchen

I am continuously surprised when I hear people say they’ve never used their oven, even in years of traveling in their RV. I’m happy to report that once I got over my nervousness of using propane for the first time, I’ve continued to use “the little kitchen that could” even more than my previous giant kitchen! We cook 2-3 meals a day on our little stove. I am so excited to start sharing RV recipes and tips for cooking in smaller spaces in the near future.

Going to the bathroom isn’t weird.

using-rv-bathroom

You flush with your foot? Before living in our fifth wheel, I had the funny thought that we would probably do most of our business at the public campground toilets. WRONG. Surprisingly, we go to the bathroom the same way we did in our old home. (Aren’t you thankful for that visual?) The fact that you keep all of your waste in a small tank beneath you isn’t really that weird either. We don’t even have to buy special toilet paper; we use Seventh Generation, which you can pick up at most big box stores!

Your RV doesn’t have to look like an RV!

rv-remodel-bedroom-renovation

While this isn’t news to us, I’ve found it’s not the norm with many RVers. I knew from the beginning, when we remodeled our fifth wheel, I wanted it to feel like home. For us that meant painting over every single surface and putting in furnishings found in a traditional house. Don’t let your space on wheels intimidate you! Be bold and put your mark on it! Anytime someone tells us our fifth wheel doesn’t look like an RV, we take it as a huge compliment.

And most of all, the biggest surprise about RV living is how much it has taught me. I’ve learned so much about myself. It’s changed my habits, changed my way of thinking, and changed how I view life in general. I’m looking forward to writing an in-depth post on the positive, life-changing effects full-time RV living has had on me. :)

Fellow RVers, what has surprised you? If you’ve never RVed, do you have any assumptions or burning questions about life on wheels?

-Kate

 

rv-camping-barber-motorsports-park

It’s already been a little over a week since we left Birmingham. Even though we spent more than a month in “The Heart of Dixie” it went by SO fast. It’s been so fun getting settled into a new routine. Being a neat and tidy freak has never been a strong suit of mine, but this tiny-house living has really started to whip me into shape. I actually look forward to organizing things because Lucille can go from organized to chaos pretty darn quickly.

One of our first big projects was replacing the end of the sewer pipe that got ripped off during our trek from Texas to Alabama. Matt and our friend Rich (who was also in town for Barber Vintage festival and camped next to us for a few days) got it all fixed up thanks to the awesome guys at Shafer’s RV, which was conveniently right down the street from our campground!

matt-fixing-rv-poop-pipe

After our first few days in Cropwell, AL, we packed up camp on Thursday and headed over to Barber Vintage Festival! We had such a fun time camping on the grounds of our favorite place and even had the opportunity to host our first get together! Matt used our projector, and we were able to watch the race footage he shot earlier in the day, while eating delicious grilled brats.

our-first-rv-party

It was three crazy days of non-stop fun. We got to see our peeps from Dallas and friends from all over the U.S. If you’ve never been to Barber Motorsports Park, and you’re a motorcycle fan, we highly recommend making a stop if you’re ever passing through, especially in October for the Vintage Festival!

barber-vintage-motorsports-museum

The following Monday it was time to pack up again and head back to the river. We hated to leave because by then we pretty much had the campground to ourselves, since everyone else left Sunday afternoon.

rv-camping-barber-motorsports-park

Once we made it back to our awesome spot at General Lee Campground and Marina, we were faced with a crazy impending storm that wreaked havoc along a good part of its huge path across the U.S. Since it was the first time to encounter severe weather in a home that can be picked up and thrown easily (and we were parked only a few feet from the edge of the water), we played it safe and went to bunker down with our friends, who lived about 30 minutes away.

our-first-full-time-rv-storm

Being in Alabama for our first stop was such a fun experience because we had some really dear friends who lived close by. We had the best time acting like locals and hanging out with people we loved when we all had free time.

The following week, my parents came from Texas to come hang out with me and the pups, while Matt headed off to Colorado for a work trip. I greatly enjoyed having them and hosting our first overnight guests!

parents-in-alabama

I really wanted to make a trip with them to Louie’s Pickles, but the timing didn’t work out. I ended up going with my friend the following week, and it was absolutely incredible. (Little fun fact about me…I LOVE PICKLES and olives, so when I heard there was a place that specialized in the pickle art, I just had to go.)

louies-pickles-odenville-al

Pickle lovers can visit Louie’s in the small town of Odenville, AL.  This photo shows about half of the pickley selection they had available that day. It’s so popular, they often sell out of some of their speciality items, so get there early!

louies-pickles-odenville-al-pickle-selection

A few days later we celebrated Matt’s 31st birthday with him feverishly trying to finish my race bike for my very first track day. I also got to use my KitchenAid for the first time in the RV and made some killer cookies! Part of our travels next year will be following the AHRMA race circuit as I try my hand at vintage motorcycle racing and we’re so stoked! I had the best time testing the race waters, even though it was FREEZING cold!

themotogato-first-track-day

When we weren’t busy working, hanging out, or doing chores around the house, we spent time enjoying our beautiful serene surroundings. The view out our windows was absolutely incredible and never got old.

matt-at-work

The weather was really nice while we were there and perfect for evening fires. In my opinion, life doesn’t get much better than when it’s accompanied by a full moon and a toasty fire.

cropwell-alabama-full-moon

I cannot wait to do a review of General Lee Campground and Marina. It was such a beautiful, quiet place. The first week of November wrapped up our month-long Alabama party. While it was sad to say goodbye, we’ve found goodbyes are a little easier now since we can just come back and stay again whenever we’d like. The day before we left, we managed to get the entire basement organized and did a deep cleaning on the house. We evenfinally got Lucille weighed on our way out of town!

weighing-fifth-wheel-after-remodel

It was something we hadn’t taken the time to do since completing our renovation, and we are happy to report we’re right in line with where we should be. Hooray!

Our trip to Arkansas was delightfully uneventful, and we are LOVING Little Rock so far, as I’m sure anyone on Facebook or Instagram can tell. 😉

We hope you enjoy this short little video recap of our time in Alabama!

 

DSC00131

how-we-downsized-for-full-time-rv-living-bw

Wow! Downsizing our belongings for full-time RV living…It makes me shudder a bit when I think back to that month. As I’ve mentioned before, we lived in an 1800 sq ft house (with a garage FULL of motorcycles and parts) that needed to be downsized to what our tiny new home could hold. Since we were going from Dallas back to south Texas to meet up with Lucille, we rented a 5×8 U-Haul trailer to carry all belongings that remained after the big purge.

full-time-rv-move

I won’t lie, it was hellacious at times; and toward the end, I wanted to just toss a match in and run away. The funny thing is it now seems like so long ago, such a fleeting moment in time. I learned a lot about the importance of the things around me, our marriage was stretched but grew stronger, and in the end, the realization of how little we had left was freeing.

While I don’t think I have all of the answers to prepare for full-time RV living, I hope some of these tips that worked for us may make the process a little easier for someone in the future.

1. Mentally prepare yourself for the task.

While getting rid of most of the things you own is an undertaking I don’t think anyone can fully prepare for,  I do believe you can get close.  For me, it was fairly easy to flip the mental switch; but for some, letting go things (especially sentimental things) can be a very tough job. If you’re struggling with holding on, I highly recommend reading this article by The Minimalists. While I don’t agree with every aspect (I still love having actual photos I can hold in my hand), it offers an excellent insight into letting go.

2. Take inventory and organize your things. 

Before doing anything else, I started an inventory, using a Google Spreadsheet to organize my thoughts.

full-time-rv-organize

This was helpful mostly for the larger items I wasn’t able to move around. When we started on the smaller stuff, I took everything that was behind a cabinet or drawer and spread it out. It was quite chaotic, but helpful to see an overview what I was going through.

full-time-rv-sort-things

The kitchen was the first and easiest area of the house I tackled. I came up with a great criteria to determine if something should stay or go: Do I use this now, and if so, will I continue to use it in the future? If the answer was yes, and it was something we would need in the RV, it went in a keep box. If the answer was no, I had to decide what to do with it: Should I sell, donate/giveaway, or toss it? One of the most important things we learned in the whole process was don’t be afraid. Once you’re able to be at peace with letting things go the whole process becomes a lot easier.

To organize stuff as I went through it, I had various boxes throughout the house which were labeled, making it pretty easy to sort and pack things.

full-time-rv-keep-or-store

I also had an entire room I jokingly called “the show room”, which was where we moved everything waiting to be sold. This helped so much when it was time to start selling everything off! I even hung a blanket over the entry to the kitchen, so I could do pre-sales inside the house before the official garage sale.

full-time-rv-sale

3. Get rid of it: sell, donate, trash. 

Once we had done most of the mental work of deciding what would stay or go, it was on to the hardest part: getting it out of our house and into someone else’s.

For the large pieces, I did pre-sales on Facebook groups and Craigslist. I found that while Facebook actually worked quite well, it was very time-consuming, and people seemed to flake out more than actually show up.

full-time-rv-garage-sale

Our garage sale proved to be the easiest way to get rid of things. This was due mostly to my desire to just have it all gone. We skipped the haggling and offered things for a steal, since our goal was having less stuff – not getting rich quick. At the end of the day I put the items that didn’t sell on the curb for free and took what was left the next day to the donation center. In hindsight, I realized it would have been helpful if I had prepared more. It turned out we found quite a few things lurking around later that we could have easily sold in the sale.

In addition to our sales, we gave things to friends and family and donated the rest to a local charity. I was very much of the mindset that if I had something someone else could use, I would prefer to give it away rather than make a few meager dollars trying to sell it. It was great knowing our things were getting a good new home and would hopefully remind friends and family of us.

full-time-rv-move-trash

The last option was to trash things. Anything that was broken, unusable, or just plain trash that had somehow hid itself around our home went to the curb. We actually made a call to our local waste company and arranged a special pickup of everything on the curb for about $85. Not have to worry about getting it to the dump ourselves was the best $85 we’ve ever spent.

4. Store it. 

I know many full-time RVers choose to keep their belongings in storage. However, I have read so many accounts of people who regretted storing their things. They found out months or years later they didn’t miss their stuff at all, and they could have purchased those items new again for less than it had cost to store them. Some might disagree, but it was definitely an encouragement for us to get rid of things, instead of keeping them for the day we might decide this wheeled life isn’t for us anymore.

rv-full-time-storage-unit

We did end up having to get a small storage unit, but it was a temporary last-minute solution since we were on a deadline to be out of our house. We will be going back through Dallas next month and since we’ll have Lucille with us we’ll have a bit more room to take things that wouldn’t fit in the U-Haul, like our kayaks!

DSC00162

This was the night before we were supposed to be moved out…and as you can see, there was still stuff EVERYWHERE. It ended up taking us a few more days than we originally planned, but we still managed to do it all in only a few weeks. The day our house was finally empty was one of the happiest days of my life!

5. Don’t forget to have fun!

We have amazing friends who came out for “packing parties”. Not only was it great to have their help, but awesome to be able to spend time together before we left. And finally, when you’re done, give yourself a high-five. You just finished the most difficult part of becoming a full-time RVer!

giphy

We have gone through our things and weeded out even more since moving. We’re trying to follow the “one thing in, one thing out” rule to keep the clutter at bay and surround ourselves only with things that add joy and value to our lives. We don’t have it perfected yet and probably never will, but we’re content with the balance we’ve found so far. :)

-Kate