First Impressions: Freedom vs. Options

I finally had a little time today after work to relax. When I did the feeling I’d been waiting for washed over me. Freedom I suppose you could call it, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

Freedom isn’t quite the right word, because we are always free. At any given moment you could quit your job, make a phone call to a travel agency and assuming you have the funds, book a flight to just about anywhere. But who actually does that? No one. We have the freedom to do that, but in most circumstances it’s not a viable option. There are too many obligations and ties both physical and mental to the situation we are in and it limits our options.

RVing opens up more possibilities, more options. I have less stuff to bog me down now, and I’m no longer tied into a year long lease (or a mortgage) so I have more freedom to travel. Here at Stoney Crest I’m paying from month to month. If something were to happen that would require me to be elsewhere, it wouldn’t be as big of a issue.

Everyone whom I know knows I live in the Casita now and that I intend to travel in it. They expect that at some point I’ll be moving on, but instead of straining relationships it makes it easier in a way. I get to be totally honest with people now, about who I am and what I want to do. It makes conversations more genuine and real even if they don’t share my viewpoint.

And today I finally had a chance to appreciate this freedom. On one end of the campground past the owner’s residence, a dirt track leads down to a salt marsh creek. It’s a short walk, and a very beautiful place. When I went this afternoon the temperature was coming back down and there was a nice breeze keeping the bugs away. Crabs scuttled along the ground and birds chirped and sung in the trees. I’m pretty sure I saw a pair of Painted Buntings, but I couldn’t get my camera up fast enough to get a picture.

I want more days like this, where when I get done with work I can go exploring and be outside without having to drive thirty minutes to get there. Right now the outlook looks promising.

Now for a little about the move. Let me say that if you can avoid having to move out of your old place and into an RV at the same time, for the love of Pete do it. Unless you like the trial by fire approach.

Since I didn’t travel in it even once before the move I had no idea where stuff was going to fit, or how the various systems worked. In fact I still don’t have my stabilizer jacks down, and haven’t used the water heater yet. A further complication was the fact that my roommate is only going to be living with me in the RV for a few months, so all of her stuff (and our shared stuff that she will be using in a new apartment that I no longer needed) needed to go into a storage lot.

It made for a very hectic week. But now that the worst of it is over and I had time to get a full night’s sleep again I can liken it to pulling a band-aid off in one quick motion. Momentarily painful, but over quick. And all and all, it went pretty well. We seem to have enough room for the necessary belongings, although it’ll take some time to get everything organized in the best way possible.

Getting the water set up was probably my silliest newbie moment so far. I got the pressure regulator, the water filter, and then the hose leading to the fresh water inlet all hooked up. I turned the water on, and did a happy dance when it didn’t immediately explode. Then I ran to the fresh water tank to wait. And wait. And wait. After a few minutes when I could no longer ignore the fact that the tank wasn’t filling up and I thought I had a problem. Yeah, turns out that’s the way it is suppose to work, the fresh water tank gets filled from a different outlet located in the back of the trailer. Good thing the previous owner gave me a huge binder of information including a diagram of the water system, which cleared up the confusion.

I also had some issues with the stabilizer jacks, there are a lot of ants around and I got bit or stung by a bad one when I was fiddling around with them. By the next morning my finger was good and swollen, but it’s getting better now. As it turns out, there isn’t enough clearance to lower them where I’m at since the back of the site is a little higher than the front. I’ll either have to get creative with my leveling blocks or move the trailer a bit.

For those of you who are or have RVed in the past, what was your most memorable newbie moment while learning the ropes? If you aren’t yet, what do you anticipate having the most problems learning? I haven’t yet had to mess with the sewer system since we’re going over to the campground restrooms whenever possible, but it seems everyone who has been for any length of time has a black water horror story to share. If that’s the price for admittance into this wonderful lifestyle that lets me go where I want and see more of the world then I think I’m okay with that.

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Diane Livingston on March 28, 2015 at 11:36 am

    we stopped at a campground and my husband went to dump the tanks. One of the tips on the hose fitting didn’t connect properly and the hose came off when he pulled the valve. He ruined a brand new pair of LL Bean shoes!!! He didn’t laugh then, but later we laughed and said we had our own “RV The Movie” moment! LOL — now before we pull the lever we double check the hose connection!!

    • Becky on March 28, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      Oh no Diane! I’m glad you were able to look back on it and smile – it’s all part of the learning process.

      I love that movie, when you’re an RVer it becomes so much more funny. 🙂

  2. Misty on May 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Haha, the only really big mishap was at the first time I took it out and dumped the black water. I didn’t check to make sure the hose was snug at the trailer end, and sure enough, it popped off and poopy water went everywhere. Luckily, the tank was almost empty by the time it happened, so most of the spillage was back wash from the hose. But still! 😛

    The other problem I’m having is with ants. Believe me, you do not want to have the nightmare I’m dealing with right now! (I’m going to do a post on my blog about it tonight, if you want details.) Do yourself a favor and spread some ant granules under your trailer /before/ you have a problem! If you want to be extra super careful, get some spray poison and spray your electric cable, water hose, wheels, and anything else that touches the ground. Don’t get involved in an arms race, like I did! Hahaha.

    I’m so excited to come join you in June. It’s going to be so much fun! I hope y’all are ready to try harmonizing, because I’ve totally been working on my finger picking. 😀

    • Becky on May 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      Hello Misty, we’re definitely looking forward to having you here next month! I was so excited when I heard the news from Julie. There will singing, hopefully around a campfire if I have anything to say about it. 😉

      My new longer sewer hose has some fancy twist to lock end on it, hopefully that’ll do the job. Still, at least the poopy water was outside and not inside right?

      So far the ants here seem to be staying off the trailer, but perhaps some precautionary measures are in order, just in case. I’ll definitely check out your blog later tonight, Julie said you were starting one but I don’t have the address yet, will you give me the link?

      I drove out to Camping World today to pick up my replacement friction pad and longer hose, when I was out there I saw a Fun Finder Shadow Cruiser and thought of you. 🙂 If it looks like this little one did it’s a very cute trailer!

  3. Dave on May 2, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Most of my newbie mishaps were backing the trailer into tree limbs (luckily with the OLD trailer back 12 years ago). So far so good with the new little (16′) trailer. Other stuff I did not know when I started out: You’re supposed to keep the black tank valve closed and dump all at once. You must use a water pressure regulator or you will spring leaks in your plumbing. You level the trailer keeping weight on the wheels, NOT by lifting the frame. I leveled the old trailer several times by lifting the corners, sometimes I would have a wheel completely off the ground. Luckily the old trailer was small enough and stout enough to take the abuse without “bending”. From reading your posts, I think you pretty much know the ropes already, you’ll just be tweaking procedures to your liking. Happy settling-in to your new surroundings!

    • Becky on May 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      Hiya Dave. I cringe to think of hitting a tree limb with my Casita but I have a feeling it’s already been done. One of my bathroom vents is quite warped looking and it was obvious to tell that it had been re-caulked into place. I’m happy to hear tha things have gone smoothly in your new trailer.

      I was fortunate to have the Casita forums/Club to learn a lot of the basics. I’m using lynx levelers under my wheels, I got a water pressure regulator from the previous owner, and my waste tanks will be staying closed off until they’re full enough to dump. A couple of the RVs here have stacks of rocks and scissors jacks under their RVs to get them level, they’re in more sloped sites than mine.

  4. Hazel on May 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Becky, congratulations at moving OUT and moving IN! There will be a transition time of adjustment until you figure out systems and routines and just where everything fits best.

    Hubby and I have only stayed in WREN for a month so far, but I feel that I can offer suggestions because we’ve done many other tiny spaces: a boat, a tent, a pop-up, a home-built 5’x12′ trailer, even our small cottage. It will be much easier when you’re living alone but for now, you’ll have to do the ‘Casita dance’ with your friend and her cats. 😉

    – find a place to stow everything and keep everything put away unless it’s being used. If storage is a problem with 2 of you, use Rubbermaid bins outside to keep things that don’t fit inside.

    – use the bathroom area for storage! At one point I realized that the bathroom was a big empty space that I hadn’t made good use of especially since we showered in the campground showers. Now it has stick-on bins (Camping World) for all our personal stuff and facecloths; laundry bag; our shower bags; toilet paper; towels; even the floor holds a narrow storage bin.

    – take turns! If one person is dressing or cooking or whatever, the other person stays in bed or sits down out of the way. I get to stay in bed until hubby has breakfast ready! Bonus!

    – consider not using the hot water tank. Really! If you shower in the campground washroom, why heat water? Often in a hot climate the water hose has heated up the water already anyway and that’s enough to do dishes. Or wash dishes in cold water like when you’re tent camping. Even a dark jug of water placed outside in the sun will heat up if you really need hot water. This will serve you well when you’re boondocking too.

    – the sewer thing is simple. I was anxious about it but there have been no problems. You should be hooked up to the sewer now since you’re staying in one place so it’s just a matter of pulling (opening valves). Doing a dump at a dump station just requires gloves and flushing out the hose with water before storing it. One step at a time!

    – be outdoors as much as possible so you don’t get cabin fever or get on each others’ nerves. Even sitting outside to eat or relax makes your space bigger. We do some cooking on an outside table placed by the exterior electrical outlet; we use a slow cooker, a breadmaker, a toaster, and a popcorn popper out there. Do you have an awning for shade? It’s easy to put out and put away…don’t leave it up when you’re not there or in strong winds. (Try to make sure your fridge side is shaded as much as possible.)

    Sorry…I get carried away with Casita living ideas! 😉 The only issue we’ve had is the chains coming loose when towing until we figured out how to hook them on properly. Staying in one place is ever so much simpler than moving all the time!

    Good luck to you and ENJOY YOUR FREEDOM!!!

    • Becky on May 2, 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Hiya Hazel! We’re still learning the steps to the Casita dance but realized early on like you said that only one person can really be doing something at a time.

      We’ll be using the showers here at the campground since they’re roomy and clean (if a little dated). So far all of our bathroom stuff is living in the bathroom on the plethora of hanging baskets the previous owners put in but it’s possible I’ll get true storage bins for in there in the future. Once I’m boondocking though I’ll need to use it as an actual bathroom so don’t want to get too carried away.

      I love being outdoors and definitely want to spend more time outside. It’s getting into the upper 80’s already during the day though so evenings are the best time to be outside, but that’s when the mosquitos and biting gnats come out. We would have to douse ourselves with bugspray in order to stay out once the sun goes down since the gnats are small enough to get through screen netting. We’re even allowed to have campfires which is awesome but there are no pits provided, you gotta buy your own portable one. It’s definitely something the roomie and I are considering getting.

      Right now the Casita is parked so the fridge is on the shady side in the afternoons, and yes my Casita has an awning, it was one of those things I really wanted to have on any used one I purchased. I’ve avoided putting it out because first I needed to re-park the trailer in order to get the stabilizer jacks down, and now I realize my left tire is a little low on air and I might need to pull up camp to go take care of that – the psi is reading 45.5 and I’ve heard 50 is what it should be.

      With 30 amp service can a toaster be used at the same time as the AC? I’m trying to avoid tripping anything since the cat needs AC to avoid overheating in the trailer during the day. I used the microwave for the first time today but I shut the AC off briefly while I did so.

      There, now you have an equally long response to your comment. 😛 Thanks for posting and happy trails.

      • Hazel on May 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm

        See, you know what you’re doing more than you think. Everyone has to work things out for their needs.

        Yes, we would turn off the AC or heater if we were using an appliance. Easier in the long run.

        As for the jacks, we found them difficult to put down and put up wherever we went…they were stiff and ours were bent by the previous owner. It was simpler to use portable jacks at each corner under the frame.

        We didn’t have any bugs in Texas but do have a kitchen tent for the picnic table if we ever are in a mosquito area. Gnats are a whole other issue! 😉

        Thanks for chatting!

        • Becky on May 3, 2012 at 11:21 pm

          I’ll have to swing my Texas at some point to enjoy the bug free-ness. 😉 Actually I’d like to go to Rice and see if I could get a hi-lift axle put on my Casita to make boondocking easier, I imagine that’ll cost a good bit of money though.

          The appliance news gives me hope though, maybe it would be worth getting a toaster at some point after all.

          Nice talking to you too, and thanks for following along.

  5. LilNomad on May 2, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I heard that ants dont like powdery stuff on their legs and wont walk through it…try sprinkling baby powder or that Borax stuff round the trailer. P.S so jealous..cant wait till I can hit the road.

    • Becky on May 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      Thanks for the tip Lil, how much longer do you have?

  6. Brian on May 2, 2012 at 8:52 am

    No black water events yet, although I’ve witnessed a few. Well, I’ve hit the road with a half full glass of Dr. Pepper in the fridge, that sure made a mess. Another time I looked in the mirror just in time to see the sewer hose escape from its storage area in the bumper of the travel trailer (it’s still out in New Mexico as far as I know). I left my brass water shut-off, gauge and pressure regulator on the faucet at an RV park in Amarillo, TX. No major disasters so far, just lots of fun.

    • Becky on May 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      All in all not too bad Brian, thanks for sharing. 🙂 I just got a new (longer) sewer hose today and I’m not convinced that it’ll fit in the storage tube on the tongue of my trailer but I’ll worry about that when I have to. Keep having fun!

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