On the morning of the 28th I’m on the road by noon, having said goodbye to the good folks of Little House Customs. The next few days are driving days with no stops other than overnights. I’m on a mission and nothing will derail me: ringing in 2014 on the shores of the Atlantic with friends in SC. That means I have 900 and some miles to go in three days, time to drive.
This trip has marked several first time state visits. Besides Texas, I cross into Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama for the first time. I don’t have one of those sticker maps of the USA where you fill in the states as you visit them, but even if I did I wouldn’t call my brief run through these three states as a “visit”. I stick to I20 and make no detours to see the sights, from the road I only see trees and marsh whizzing past, the towns I do stop in are just for a quick gas refill or to dry camp at the local Walmart, which is where I spend the next two nights. Nighttime temps are holding above freezing, my winter escape plan seems to be working.
Like with every repositioning trip I take with the RV, there are minor mishaps. I’m not sure that I shared them with my last couple trips (up to the Badlands, and from the Badlands down to Amazon), but I feel like stating the ones that happened this time for the sake of the new prospective RVers who finding IO and imagine that my life is like a fairytale. While I continue to find full-time RVing to be an amazing and very rewarding lifestyle, it is a fact that I have never driven Bertha and Cas for more than 700 miles without something breaking.
Think about that a moment. Every time I move more than a state with my RV, I can count on having to spend money and or time replacing or fixing something that breaks not because I’m a reckless driver or abnormally careless but just because of the normal stress put on a house on wheels by rattling it for several hours. Every time I take a trip and factor in the cost of gas of driving 1,000+ miles, I also need to throw some money in for the thing(s) that are inevitably going to be negatively impacted by moving my home.
Usually what I do is just intentionally over-estimate how much I’ll be spending on gas. For instance for this trip I budgeted $400 just on gas, prices for unleaded are pretty low right now and when I put this estimate on a previous post a reader pointed out that it wouldn’t be that high. “No it probably won’t be” I said, “But something else will happen to use that money.” For any repositioning trip, always estimate high on expenses, that way you’ll never be caught short.
I’d made it from Kansas to Texas without anything happening, which surprised me. Usually when something breaks, it happens pretty early on in a long trip. My second day out of Texas is when it happened this time. One of my small cabinet doors will not stay closed when in motion, on a previous trip the screws holding the hinges on the frame stripped out of the cabinet and the whole door fell off. A coworker at Amazon put it back on for me using a piece of wood behind the fiberglass to give the new screws something to dig into. The new screws held up great and didn’t budge: instead the hinge itself snapped, there must have been incredible pressure on it to break the metal like that. The bottom hinge is still holding for now, I’d unscrew it and take the door off to prevent further damage but I can’t get the screws out, they’re in there so well.
On the same day I forgot to secure a plate and it hit the front of the fridge and shattered, taking the bottom part of the plastic frame that holds the front fiberglass panel on the fridge in place along with it, or maybe that wasn’t from the plate hitting it but just another general stress thing over time from all the movement. Also another one of my wood valences is going, the screw or the hole in the frame it’s bolted to on the left side is stripped and I can no longer tighten it to stay in place. I’ll have to remove the whole thing soon or risk having it fall and break while driving, like what happened to the valence over the emergency window last year.
All of these things happened in one day of driving. Not a single one of them has an impact on my quality of life. The cabinet with the loose door is at ground level and has a big lip, nothing’s going to come spilling out of it and break. My fridge will still function fine with that fiberglass panel askew. I still have two more serviceable plates, and the valence serves only cosmetic purposes. But it’s still annoying, and it’s something every prospective RVer should keep in mind before jumping into this lifestyle, things like this are going to happen. It’s inevitable.
It’s really all a matter of perspective. The minor things that break can ruin the joy if you allow the annoyance to consume you, to ruin your day. Or you can shake your head, take a deep breath, and make the conscious decision to move forward. On the 30th I pull back into Stoney Crest Plantation Campground, where this adventure started in the spring of 2012. I meet up with old friends and as the clock strikes midnight on the last day of 2013 I’m on Coligney beach on Hilton Head Island with Julie, enjoying a frozen margarita from a small plastic camp cup and watching three separate fireworks displays up and down the coast. Hold on to the things that matter, the good things that made you smile, and learn to let what doesn’t serve you go.
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Also, my sincerest and most grateful Thank You to everyone who helped IO last month through donation and using my Amazon links. Paypal donations for the month of December totaled $98, a new record. Amazon affiliate income ended at $565.51, also a new record. Thank you all for thinking of me this holiday season, to those who contributed to IO through monetary means and also to everyone who responded to a blog post in 2013 or sent me an e-mail. IO is a community founded on a love of life, travel, and friendship and it would not have been possible without every single one of you. Here’s to an amazing 2014!
I’m still behind on posting, so another one will be going up tomorrow to catch up. For now I’ll say I’m safe and sound down in Florida and my first night at Ordway-Swisher was extremely cold for this part of the country but otherwise well. Tomorrow will be my first day working (volunteering) and I’m looking forward to it.