Online Reservations? No. You have to book your stay over the phone
Rate Per Night: $45
Discount: $40 per night with the Good Samdiscount
Nights Stayed: 7
Mingo RV Park is east of downtown Tulsa — near the intersection of interstate 244 and State Highway 169 — and just north of the “Route 66 Rising’ sculpture which sits in the center of the roundabout at the intersection of Admiral Place and North Mingo Road. Tulsa is laid out in a grid that makes it very easy to navigate.
The entrance to the park is actually a block off of N. Mingo Road on E. Independence Street. Fortunately, the large neon gate is easy to see and our GPS took us right to it. Once you pull through the gate, keep driving straight ahead to the spot marked by the “Register Here” sign. The office is a log cabin that occupies a hill in the center of the campground. It also houses the laundry room and showers. There is a large bank of mail boxes across from the registration parking, letting you know that this park is mostly occupied by permanent residents.
The campground offers a few amenities in addition to a big laundry room and very clean showers. There is propane and a playground behind the office. There are picnic tables and outdoor seating placed in the grass around the office, and a dog walking area on top of the levy along Mingo Creek at the back of the campground. There are also several tree sculptures throughout the grounds which are very well maintained. The grass is trimmed, the laundry and showers were very clean, and sites are kept clean. You can tell they truly care. I saw maintenance staff at work every day. The RV park is also very quiet. Even on weekends there was no loud music, or loud talking late into the night.
The RV Park does have some negatives. First, it’s near the airport so there is occasional noise from jets flying over. Second, the gravel sites all have a low curb on streets that are crowned in the middle. The raised center of the street and the curb caused Belvedere to bottom out every time we entered or exited our spot and is probably the reason we lost one of our Snap Pads on our trip. The sites are also very tight so putting out chairs or the awning was impossible. Considering we were inside the city limits I guess that was to be expected, however, it made staying here feel more like staying in an open air apartment building than a campground.
One odd detail about all the sites is that the water hose connection is under a small cover about a foot below ground. A night of hard rain completely flooded the hole so I had to wait until a maintenance person came to pump it out before I could hook up my hose.
This brings me to the biggest positive of our stay. The staff. From my first phone call to reserve a spot until the day we checked out, every staff member we met was friendly and helpful. When I needed my water connection pumped out, the maintenance staff member was at my site ready to help within minutes of me letting the office know. The office staff was always ready to help and, of course there were two cats who would greet us outside the office.
We have family in Tulsa, so we will be visiting the area again. Would we stay here when we come back? We now know to be very careful maneuvering into our site, but the positives of the campground— a clean, quiet, well kept place to stay with basic, but decent, amenities close to the city with a friendly helpful staff— outweigh the negatives. So, yes, we would stay here again.
Full time RV life is a great adventure, but, adventure isn’t always fun. The highs are amazing but, unfortunately, so are the lows. You have to be ready to adapt and make the best of bad situations. We’ve had to learn this lesson, mostly the hard way.
Labor Day began bright and early at Great Sand Dunes Oasis, a store just outside the gates of Great Sand Dunes National Park, where we rented sand sleds for the day. A sand sled is made of plywood with an upturned front and a small cushion near the rear to sit on. Along with the sled you get a block of wax that you rub on the bottom of the sled then polish by rubbing the sled on sand before you make your run. After we got our sleds, we drove a couple miles to the parking area, gathered our sleds, sunscreen, and hats and headed for the dunes.
Walking on sand dunes is not easy, for every step forward you fall back at least a half step. Walking on sand dunes at 8000 feet of elevation quickly becomes a slog because there is less oxygen to breath. It felt like it took forever to walk the mile from the parking area up the first, and smallest, dune because we had to stop more than once to catch our breath.
But, everything changed once we were on our sand sleds. We had an absolute blast sledding down the dune! We both wiped out spectacularly and repeatedly but, once we got the hang of it, we wiped out even more spectacularly in between a few good runs. The downside, of course, is that each good run down was followed by a long slow walk back up the dune. After a few hours we were covered in sand and close to exhaustion. We each made one last run down a steeper slope. Carolyn wiped out, rolled a few feet then stood up, laughing, and got back on her sled to finish the run. My final run went through a patch of soft sand and I ate a lot of it. Completely exhausted now, we slowly made our way back to Belvedere and dumped the sand out of our shoes (and shorts). Then our luck began to change.
The weather forecast for the next day was a surprise early winter storm that would bring lots of snow and freezing temperatures across a large portion of Colorado. We made a decision to cancel our reservations at the campground inside the park and head somewhere that wasn’t expected to freeze. That led to some quick research to find a place that wouldn’t have sub freezing temperatures. We decided our best bet was to head to lower elevation about three hours away in Montrose, Colorado. Decision made, we headed out to fill up on diesel and start the 4 hour drive.
Thank Goodness For Our TPMS
There is absolutely nothing but open land for about fifteen miles between Great Sand Dunes and the town of Mosca. On a desolate county road about five miles from the gas station , the alarm on our tire pressure monitoring system went off. It showed us losing pressure in one of our rear tires at an alarming rate! With no room to pull off on the side of the road, we had no choice but to limp to the gas station in Mosca. Once there, I asked if there was anyone who could help us with our tire. The very nice lady pointed me to a truck and tire company just six miles down the road. I filled up our tire and we limped to the little town of Hooper and pulled into the tire place.
Did I mention it was Labor Day? The tire place was closed and our tire was now down to 14psi, so we called roadside assistance and they dispatched help. When they arrived and got the tire off we could see that the valve stem had cracked and broken off on the way to Hooper, taking the TPMS cap sensor with it. While I was unhappy about losing the sensor, I also realized we were VERY lucky that the tire did not blow out.
It had taken about an hour for help to arrive, and once they arrived and got the tire off, they decided to take the tire back to their shop, repair it there then bring it back. A process that ended up taking another three hours. That’s when we learned that being broken down is a very different experience in an RV. We were parked in an empty parking lot, not on the side of the road. So, while we waited, we made lunch and settled down to watch tv while eating ice cream. Carolyn even took a nap. Except for the road noise it was kinda nice to have a quiet afternoon after such an active morning.
Finally, we were able to get back on the road. But, it was now five o’clock and we still had a three and a half hour drive ahead of us on winding roads and the smoky sky meant darkness would fall earlier than normal. We decided not to stop for anything else and get as far as we could before dark. In fact, we were so intent on getting over the mountains that we barely noticed the sign when we drove over the Continental Divide for the first time ever. There was simply no time to stop for pictures.
After all the twists and turns on dark roads we finally pulled into Centennial RV Park outside of Montrose. I’m very grateful to the campground owners for meeting us at the office when we rolled in. We were also both thankful for the long hot showers to wash all the sand off before we climbed into bed. It’s not a large park, but it’s very nice. In different circumstances we would definitely stay there again.
The next morning, Tuesday, was the day the storm would be rolling in and, while no snow was predicted for Montrose, there would be plenty of rain. Since we had booked at the last minute, we only got to stay at Centennial for one night. We unhooked and moved to a another campground that had a spot for the next three nights. The rain was just beginning to fall as we got hooked up. I opted to not hook up the water hose in case it got down below freezing. Fortunately, it never did.
Until the storm forced us to change our plans we had not intended to come to the western side of Colorado on this trip. But, I’m so glad we did! Our new campground, Riverbend RV Park and Cabins became one of our favorite places we stayed on our trip. It sits on the banks of the Uncompahgre River in Montrose, Colorado. The sites are gravel, but they are very level and the office is a brand new building with a new laundry room and nice showers. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. We could not have asked for a warmer welcome and even though we had to move sites after our first two nights we couldn’t complain because our new site was right beside the river. We truly were lucky to have found them.
When there was a break in the rain, we walked to the Ute Indian Museum and spent some time exploring their exhibits. It’s a small, but very well done, museum with a great story to tell and some beautiful artifacts. Ute are the only Native American Tribe that doesn’t have a relocation story. Though they lost most of their land, the Ute reservations are on a very small portion of their ancestral land. The museum sits on land that had once belonged to Chief Ouray a chief who was chosen by the US government to be the spokes person for the tribe and for whom the town of Ouray, Colorado is named.
Just outside the museum, we discovered the city trail that went right past our campground and continued all the way to the city center. A short walk down the trail brought us to a bridge that led to a shopping area with a Target, a Natural Grocer, and other stores.
Since we were settled at Riverbend for a few days I contacted Borg, the valve stem manufacturer, to see about getting a replacement. They were incredibly nice about it! I sent them a photo of the valve stem stump and they FedExed me two replacements, one for the missing stem and one just in case it happened again (spoiler alert; it did!). The replacement stems arrived Thursday afternoon and Friday morning we had the new stem installed and with the return of warm sunny weather it was time to hit the road again. This time toward the San Juan Mountains newly covered in snow.
Neither of us can believe how fast things changed from a fun day of sand sledding to being broken down and fleeing a winter storm to discovering wonderful new people and places. But, we’re learning that this is what full time RV life is. It will test you and reward you and test you again. The only thing you can do is keep your sense of humor and in the darkest moments and celebrate the good times. Like the first sight of beautiful snow covered mountains.
Where We Ate:
Since we were on vacation the week after Labor Day and the weather was fairly bleak we decided to find a different restaurant for lunch each day. These are the places we tried.
Camp Robber: This very nice casual restaurant has been in business since 1994. It’s unusual name is the name given to the Canadian Gray Jay because the birds have a habit of swooping in and stealing food from campsites. The staff was friendly and the food was very good. We started with Green Chile Chicken Potato soup, then I had Green Chile Pistachio Crusted Pork Medallions. A favorite dish that has stayed on their menu since they opened. It was a nice treat on a cold rainy day.
Himalayan Pun Hill Kitchen: This unassuming restaurant occupies a small building tucked between a liquor store and an auto parts store north of downtown. But, inside you are a world away. There is an extensive menu of Nepali and Indian dishes so we took time to study it before making our choices. Portions were generous so we ended up taking home half of what we ordered.
You can see the San Juan mountains in southern Colorado from Aztec, New Mexico and they are breathtaking even as a mere shadow on the horizon. As we got closer and could see them clearly they only became more imposing as they surround the little town of Durango.
The town sits in the southwest corner of the state not far from Mesa Verde National Park. It was founded as a railroad town in the 19th century, a place to carry supplies to mines deeper into the mountains. The main road through town, U.S. 550 roughly parallels the train tracks to Silverton then over high mountain passes to Ouray. The stretch of 550 from Silverton to Ouray is called the Million Dollar Highway and it’s one of the most beautiful roads in the U.S., also one of the scariest to drive because of the tight turns and the sheer drop offs. We passed up this route to Ouray and instead took a longer route. Maybe we’ll do it when we have more practice driving our house.
The downtown area is compact and easily walkable, and there are so many great little shops and restaurants you can stay busy for a couple days checking them out. But, if you are just arriving, you might want to give yourself a day or two to get used to the 6500 foot elevation before you try to go exploring. In our case, we had already spent a week in Santa Fe at 7000 feet, so we were pretty well acclimated. But, we still made sure to use sunscreen, wear a hat outside and drink plenty of water.
Our first day of exploring began with lunch at a brew pub. After a flight of beers and an excellent meal we walked the length of downtown, ducking into shops that caught our eye. Not surprisingly, many of the shops sell outdoor clothing and gear, but, there are many shops to appeal to almost any interest. If you like chocolate, then don’t miss Animas Chocolate and Coffee on Main Avenue. Their truffles are incredible!
After walking through the main shopping area we found our way onto the Animas River Trail. This seven mile paved path connects to many of the city’s parks and serves as an important part of the city’s transit system. It follows alongside the Animas River and connects neighborhoods to the downtown area and shopping areas further out. It’s a great place to walk, but watch out for the many bicycles that use the path to commute to and from work!
Our last full day in Durango was Carolyn’s birthday so we booked a ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Because of Covid 19 the train isn’t doing its usual run to Silverton, instead passengers embark at Rockwood Station about 18 miles north of Durango for a two hour scenic ride to Cascade Canyon and back.
To insure social distancing the train cars were only half filled, and the day we rode, our car only had five other groups so we had lots of space to move around during the two hour ride. Even though we were getting a shorter ride, it was still well worth going. And, if you go, I highly encourage you to book your seat in one of the gondolas which are open air train cars. The cars are open from about waist high and you seat faces the open sides so there is nothing to obstruct the scenery as you travel. Believe me you will want to see everything!
The two hour ride took us through breath taking scenery, past rivers and mountains with the train seemingly clinging to the mountainside past steep drops into the river valley below. Since the car had so few people in it we were able to get up and change sides in the car to get the best view as the train made its way to Cascade Canyon.
Where We Ate
Steamworks Brewing Company: Located on the corner of E 2nd Avenue and W 8th Street, this place offers great food along with some very good beers. We got a flight along with lunch and followed it up with a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Panna Cotta for dessert. Their IPA called Sultan of Stoke was perfect for a hot day with its tropical flavor. But, our favorite was the Red Eye, the first taste made me melt and it was the first glass emptied in our flight.
Seasons of Durango: We went here to celebrate Carolyn’s birthday after we spent the morning on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The dining room is beautiful, but we opted to sit on their rear patio because it was a beautiful day. Carolyn had the roasted chicken and I had the Fennel Pollen Dusted Salmon Filet. Our waitress was friendly and very helpful in navigating the menu.
We packed a lot into three days in Durango and we both fell in love with the town. But, there is still so much to do and see. When we return we want to get out of town and on to one of the many hiking trails that surround the city. And, maybe, tackle the Million Dollar Highway. After a quick bite, of course, and maybe something from Animas Chocolate and Coffee!
If you aren’t familiar with Harvest Hosts, let me tell you a little bit about them. Harvest Hosts is a membership organization for RVer’s. Members get access to a network of thousands of farms, wineries, breweries, distilleries, museums and most recently, golf courses across the country that let fully self contained RV’s park overnight. In exchange, members make a purchase or otherwise participate in the host’s business. Thanks to our membership we had the opportunity to stay at two incredible wineries in New Mexico and a brewery in Southern Colorado with great beer and a unique backstory. All three experiences were unique and absolutely magical.
Black Mesa Winery
Our first stop was Black Mesa Winery in Velarde, New Mexico; about halfway between Santa Fe and Taos. The winery sits at the base of a sandy, rock strewn hill just across the road from the Rio Grande River. The river valley is green and full of life in contrast to the dry rocky hills on both sides.
The winery is a set of adobe buildings with the vineyard out front beside the parking area and a green lawn with shade trees and tables where you can enjoy your wine tasting while watching the many hummingbirds stopping at feeders hung in the trees. Alex, the person working behind the counter was charming and accommodating and the owner chatted with us briefly. We were even greeted by one of the winery’s cats as we went to take a seat.
The wines were wonderful and we spent time chatting with some other guests from a safe distance. We bought bottles of our favorites and as the sun set, we returned to the RV parked beside the vineyard. After a quiet night, despite being close to the road, we finished our visit by following the trail behind the winery to see ancient petroglyphs.
Wines of the San Juan
After a day of visiting Taos and driving west across New Mexico we came to Wines of the San Juan in Blanco, New Mexico. The drive in makes this place all the more surprising. We drove through desert landscapes, then turned off the main road toward a stand of trees. Once we reached the trees everything changed. The winery sits on the banks of the San Juan River. Huge shade trees covered us from the sun and we were greeted like friends at the outdoor tasting bar. After talking through the menu we each got a glass (or two) and were invited to go sit by the pond.
The pond had tables with umbrellas and the grounds were populated by a menagerie of animals. Two geese weren’t happy that we sat at the table closest to them and they yelled at us for a bit before wandering away in a huff. Then, a family of peacocks walked up to greet us. Finally one of the cats came to say hello.
We sat in the shade enjoying our wine until they closed then we wandered back to Belvedere to make dinner. They were unusual in that they had electric and water hookups and we were the only guests there so we had a very quiet night. In the morning we were stopped on the road by a young cow that had escaped and was standing in the middle of the one lane road. We weren’t stopped for very long and we called the winery to let them know they had an escapee.
Colorado Farm Brewery
A week later, on our way to Great Sand Dunes National Park, we stopped for a night at Colorado Farm Brewery outside Alamosa, Colorado. We thought our GPS was taking us completely the wrong way when we left paved road behind and proceeded down a dirt road for a couple miles, however, we eventually came to another paved road and subsequently learned that we didn’t have to take the dirt road to get there. Anyhoo! We finally made it to their incredibly beautiful location.
The brewery is on the grounds of a family farm. The parking area was alongside a huge field of golden barley that was being harvested the day we visited. We received a very warm, friendly welcome and once we were set up for the night we wandered over to try the beer and get dinner from the food truck they had onsite for the night.
While our beers were being poured we chatted with the owners and learned that the farm has been in the family for four generations. With debt piling up and the barley business dwindling they turned to making barley into malt and became the largest international producer of craft malt. The brewery was founded on the property in 2018. Of course, we had to try the Wheatverly, their estate beer. Every ingredient of which; water, yeast, hops and malt all come from their property. It didn’t disappoint, it tasted fresh and slightly fruity.
The tap room, a former storage shed, was busy and the atmosphere was friendly and casual. The owners told us a lot of the customers are their neighbors from surrounding farms as well as people from town and other Harvest Host guests. Tables are all on a patio, under awnings, looking out over the fields. There was also a large children’s play area with things to climb. We ordered tacos filled with chicken and chorizo and enjoyed the food and the friendly atmosphere until the sunset.
Once the sun started to go down it was time for me to grab my camera and capture one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. The night was quiet and the skies were so dark I was able to do some astrophotography. We were both a little sad when morning came it was time to pack up and leave. But, we may find ourselves making excuses to travel through Alamosa so we can visit them again and again.
So, those were our first experiences. When we became Harvest Host members we were excited to visit these places. Covid got in the way but we finally got to make use of our membership and have been absolutely blown away by how wonderful our first experiences were. We’re looking forward to many more experiences on our travels. If you have a self-contained RV, check out Harvest Hosts and you can have these experiences, too.
Minor Mini Rant – Staying at a Harvest Host is not about a free place to stay; there are Walmarts and Cracker Barrels aplenty if all one needs is a patch of reasonably level ground upon which to park. Harvest Hosts stays are experiences; a chance to see and participate in someone else‘s dream for a little while. There have been reports of RVers abusing this experience which frustrates us, as we get a lot out of and actively seek these kinds of experiences. We want hosts to be glad they are hosts so that we can keep staying with them. The expectation, clearly communicated by the Harvest Host organization, is that guests should follow rules set by the host and expect to support the Host with a purchase. Our rule of thumb is to spend as much as we would on a night of camping at an RV park (okay, sometimes it’s the same as a REALLY NICE RV Park!) If what they have on offer does not appeal to us— which is rarely the case because we are the ones choosing where we stay— it becomes a gift for others. Additionally, we show our appreciation during our visit by trying to be easy guests and afterwards by liking them on social media and writing about our experience in our blog. The hosts get nothing from Harvest Host in payment, and especially in these COVID times, success is a struggle, so we feel it is important to do our part to support these organizations as best we can.
Disclaimer: We are not sponsored by Harvest Hosts. We purchased our membership not long after we took delivery of our RV.
As I write this it is pouring rain outside and we’ve had pop up thunderstorms almost every day for the last couple of weeks. So, weather apps have been at the top of my mind all week. Since we moved into the RV, we have spent a lot more time outdoors than we ever did in our sticks and bricks house. The RV doesn’t offer the same level of security in bad weather that a house does, so it’s incredibly important to know what may be headed our way in case we need to either secure our belongings or pack up and leave.
Because it is so important, I don’t rely on a single weather app. Maybe I’m just a belt and suspenders type of person, but (spoiler alert) I haven’t found a single app that I feel is 100% reliable. They all have strengths and weaknesses and some, while quite useful, only make important features available on a subscription basis. Of course, any phone app is also only as good as our connectivity. So I find myself using different apps to try and get as complete a picture of the weather as I can. This by no means a thorough review of the apps I use. This is simply my current experience with the apps and what I like and dislike about each of them. I also use an iPhone 10 so all of these apps are iOS apps. I’m sure there may be Android versions of at least some of these, but I have no experience with Android phones or apps.
What I like: This is the app that is part of iOS. It comes preinstalled on the iPhone and iPad. It’s very basic, but, it tells you the current temperature, the expected highs and lows, the percentage chance of rain, and air quality. It gives me a lot of basic information quickly in an easy to read layout. I can also easily add our travel destinations and get forecasts for them as well. It’s like the Local Forecast segments on The Weather Channel and, in fact, there is a very small Weather Channel logo in the bottom left corner of the screen.
What I don’t Like: No radar and no severe weather warnings.
The Weather Channel
What I Like: There is a lot I like about the free version of the Weather Channel App for iOS. I can get basic temperature and rain chance for the upcoming day, then change the view to see hourly forecasts or I can change the view again to see temperature and rain chance for the upcoming ten days. Then, I can scroll down to see weather radar and scrolling further will bring me to sunrise and sunset times, wind, humidity and UV Index. Scrolling further down will bring me to a sweat index, mosquito index, heat index, and air quality. A lot of information for a weather geek to have fun with. Plus, it will send me weather alerts from the National Weather Service and it will send. A useful feature during storm season in Tennessee.
What I Don’t Like: I have to scroll down several times to get to the radar screen. In between each useful bit of information there are a ton of ads, unless you pay $4.99 a month or $29.99 a year for the premium pro version. Also some important features are only in the paid version of the app.
What I Like: This is a more stripped down app also made by The Weather Channel. It gives me the radar information, temperature and wind direction and speed and it lets me know about any National Weather Service alerts all without having to scroll down which is great in an emergency. When the sky starts turning dark, I go to this app, first, to get a quick view of what’s coming. It will even send me alerts with an approximate time rain will start falling and it sends lightning alerts to my Apple Watch telling me how far away lightning has struck.
What I Don’t Like: Occasionally, it thinks I’m in another state. I first thought this was because I hadn’t updated my location after a trip, but it had my location correct. It, apparently, just decided that I needed to get storm alerts two states away and I could not make it stop. Also, like the other Weather Channel app, some really useful features (including the additional layers on the radar screen) are only available with a $3.99 monthly subscription.
What I Like: Current Temperature, radar and hourly forecasts are quick and easy to read. You can even change the hourly information to show actual temperature, feel like temperature precipitation chance, precipitation rate wind, wind gust, humidity, dew point, UV Index, Cloud Cover and barometric pressure. Do I use all of those tabs? No. But, I do use UV index because I WILL be outside most of the day. I can also set up alerts for severe weather and an umbrella reminder or a sunscreen reminder. I can also set up custom notifications as well and I can submit a report on current conditions to help make the forecast better. I’ve just started using this app in the last couple of weeks so I haven’t looked at it in great detail. However…
What I Don’t Like: In my experience with it so far, it tends to give a false sense of security. We had a line of powerful thunderstorms move through the area a week ago and while my Weather Channel apps were warning me well ahead of the storm, Dark Sky continued to show “No Precipitation Predicted” even as the rain began falling. Several minutes into the storm, as we watched water rise in the low spots around us, it finally let me know “It’s Beginning to Drizzle”! If I were relying solely on this app I could have been in a dangerous situation and not have known it.
What I like: It gives a lot of information at a glance and you can scroll down for additional information. Tabs at the bottom let you change to Hourly, Daily and Radar. The radar screen features layers to display active warnings, satellite view, precipitation outlook, temperature contour and 24 hour snowfall forecast. The weather alerts layer could be useful on the road to see if we are heading toward an area under threat. It has ads but they aren’t as obtrusive as the ones on The Weather Channel app. Also, it doesn’t save critical features for the premium version. The subscription price simply removes the ads.
What I Don’t Like: It requires a subscription to make the ads go away, but it’s a much more reasonable $8.99 per year.
What I like: This is an app by Weather Underground, a website that I have used on and off for years. The forecasts are accurate and it gives me information at a glance . The weather radar is also on the main screen.The radar screen has several layers that include a satellite view, a heat map and weather alerts. And, It doesn’t save all the most useful features for the premium version.
What I Don’t like: The interface feels cluttered so I find my self not using this app much at all. It also has the a subscription price of $19.99 a year for the premium version.
I had a vision in my head of how our first day as full-time RVers would go. We would walk out of our empty house, jump into the front seats of Belvedere (our RV) and we would drive away as the music swelled and the credits rolled; the end of one episode of our lives and the start of something new. But, life… isn’t a movie. Though, at times, it IS a comedy.
On June 1st, 2020 we moved out of the house so we could finish doing all the projects we needed to do to get the house on the market. The biggest one was replacing the carpet on the top two floors. We needed the cats to be out of the house so they wouldn’t have to chance to…ahem…make the new carpet theirs. If you know what I mean.
The drive away from the house was anything but triumphant. A pavement crew showed up that morning and began tarring the cracks in our parking lot. Suddenly, we were worried about Belvedere getting tarred in the process, but the crew had a huge truck that blocked the exit. When it finally drove off to get lunch we fled our parking lot to the nearby Blue Beacon truck wash with Carolyn driving Belvedere and me chasing in our Honda Element. Once washed, we checked in at the campground, parked, hooked up water and power then Carolyn set up her laptop and got back to work. That night, after work, we began the process of moving into the RV until we collapsed, exhausted.
After working from home together for months, we now found ourselves with a morning commute. Each morning we would get up, have coffee, then drive from the campground back to the house where Carolyn still had her office set up and, while she worked, I worked on the house; touching up paint, pressure washing and sealing the deck, cleaning the outside of the house and fixing up the flowerbeds. It was a busy month. Every day we arrived back at the RV late in the evening, ate dinner and went to bed. We only took two days off to enjoy our new home and our wonderful new neighbors. By the way, our neighbors are the folks we met last fall and wrote about here and I’ll have more to say about the campground in a future post.
At times it felt like we would never get to the finish line! The day before we got the real estate photos taken we had to replace the toilet in the main bathroom! But, we did make it! The house finally went on the market on July 2nd. We took the fourth of July weekend off to enjoy the lake.
However, the work isn’t over. We are still purging items as we discover we brought over too much stuff. The Honda has boxes of things we are working our way through. Some will be kept, some will get donated, some will get stored and some more will be trashed. Our storage unit was so carefully packed at first, but, the closer we got to our deadline the more we stashed stuff in it like a drug dealer with cops at the door! Now we have to get it organized. Yay!
All in all the first month felt like we dove in then spent the month holding on to the side of the pool. We got an offer on the house this week so, we’ll see how that plays out. We are here at this campground until the end of July then we off to a service appointment at the RV dealer in St. Louis. Until then, we still have a lot to do. But, at least now, we can also take some time to enjoy the experience of camping as well. Maybe a swim and s’mores tonight!
So, what lessons have we learned in our first month of RV life?
It’s definitely not a vacation. We still work, pay bills, buy groceries and do all the work to keep house. Heck, we haven’t even travelled, yet, so it’s like moving to a very small fixer-upper.
You really don’t need as much as you think you do. After 5 yard sales, selling countless things on E-Bay or Facebook Marketplace, endless trips Goodwill and the dump we find that we STILL HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!
Patience is more than a virtue, it’s a necessity! So is a sense of humor! Living in a small space with another person is challenging. You WILL hear things and, worse, smell things and invariably you will get in each other’s way so tension mounts fast! Which leads me to…
Communication, Communication, Communication! We went from a 2100 square foot house to a twenty five foot RV. There is no place to go cool off if you’re angry. There isn’t even a door to slam! Like it or not, you have to work out issues when they happen. And they will, because; I may have mentioned this; it’s a TINY space!
Actively look for joy. We’ve been stationary so there aren’t any exciting new places to explore, yet. We’ve been eyeball deep in getting the house ready and all the things we used to do for fun; going to the movies, eating out and shopping; have been taken off the table by Covid 19 so it’s really easy to get in a funk about it all. To counter that we’ve had to really look for things that bring us joy. Our campground sits on the edge of a beautiful lake that we get to go play in. We have better neighbors than we ever had in our sticks and bricks house. We spend more time outdoors than we have in years and there really is something wonderful about sitting outside watching the lake as the sun goes down. All these wonderful little things that we could easily have taken for granted in our old life are now vital to keeping the funk at bay.
RVer’s, in general, are wonderful people and they are ready to lend a hand if needed. And, as a newbie believe me, it’s needed! All you have to do is ask and be ready to pitch in if you’re needed.