First Week of Full Time RV

We made it, one week down as an full time RV family. This has been quite an interesting week.

We came out to the campground on Sunday, where we intend to stay for a month until we sort out what is left with our house closing. Also, this gives us time to get acclimated to the RV and understand all the ins and outs of it. Hitting the road right away in an RV has its own challenges and compound that with learning and shaking out the bugs could make things worse.

First night in our new neighborhood.

Driving from our house to the campground was a white knuckle experience to say the least. I was hit with what seemed like tropical storm level rains where I could barely see the road ahead of me at certain times. Add the wind whipping against this giant bread box careening down the road and it took quite a bit of energy to get from one place to the next. By the time I got the bus to the camp, it was still raining and was excited that they had someone there to back me into the spot. I’ve driven some big uHaul trucks, but this is truly a unique driving experience. My daily driver is a 350z, and I’ve had sporty cars most of my life. I have not owned a truck or was even licensed to operate any heavy equipment while being in the military.

Once we were lined up in the spot, I left the engine running and began to setup camp. Our first procedure was to take 1×12 boards and slide them down where the jack pads would touch the ground. Since we were not parked on concrete pad, we certainly did not want to get the jacks stuck in the soft soil and run into issues when are ready to leave.

Once the rig was level, the next step was to put the slides out.  Our Miramar has a driver side living room slide and bedroom slide out. When these slides are extended out the RV becomes unbalanced. This requires a tweak in leveling. It’s advised to level the coach prior to putting the slides out to put any undue stress on the slide mechanisms.

Next, we turned our focus on the water situation. I unfurled the 25 foot 5/8″ clean water drinking hose out. It just happened to be the perfect length from the faucet, through the lower deck hole into the inlet hole. I added a brass 90 degree elbow and a 50psi water pressure regulator onto the inlet and screwed on the clean water hose. I used plumbers tape on all the connections, to ensure no leaks. I decided to just hold off the sewer hook ups for later when I had more day light.

Setting in and getting cozy the first night.

That night, we just ended up going back to our house. The RV came with a Denver mattress. It’s a bit stiff and we were not super excited to start using it. I needed to work the next day so I wanted to ensure I had a good internet connection as the one here at the camp site has not been super reliable. As a remote worker, the internet connectivity is something I’ll be wrestling with quite a bit.

Over the course of the week we began integrating ourselves more into living in the RV full time and a host of new opportunities for learning came at us pretty fast.

First leak – One night after checking our sewer hookups in the water compartment, I found that there was a waterfall coming from up above. After a quick inspection, I realized the water was coming from inside the house right above the water bay. I thought for a moment, “what could be above the water compartment?” Based on the proximity of where the slides where, it was either the shower or the kitchen sink. Since no one has taken a shower yet, I wandered back topside to check the kitchen sink.

Too my shock, I found that the a coupling under the kitchen sink had a slow leak. The sink we have is one of those where the sprayer hose pulls out with the head. Follow that hose under the sink and it has an inline coupler that connects it to the rest of the system. Despite the connection using two o-rings, it still insisted on leaking on us. I wrapped it in plumbers tape and fixed that issue. I’ve kept an eye on it ever since and the intent is to at least replace those o-rings. What concerns me a bit more is that beneath that area on the sink is a band of electrical connections which runs up to the control panel on the all in the hallway. Not that there are any exposed connections but this could be a recipe for disaster down the road if left unchecked.

RV Toilet – Toilets in RVs as we have quickly learned require a more careful approach to using them than the ones we have at the house. Let’s just say that we were not aware that the toilet needed to be filled with a bit more water when passing solids. This resulted in a situation where I needed snake the pipe within a few days and wash out the bottom of the black tank beneath the toilet.

We also learned that in this RV that the bathroom sink drains into the black tank. As you can imagine we were quite surprised when the black tank filled up past the 2/3 mark in about 2 days.

Power Outage – Within the first few days of staying in the RV full time, we lost power at 2am in the morning. We learned later that a car had hit a transformer outside the park which caused the outage to the entire park. We did not get power back until about noon the next day.

There I was at 2am in the morning wondering, why we have no power at all in the RV. We have four 6v batteries but I wasn’t sure how to pass that back into the outlets. We have a residential refrigerator, so running on LP was not an option. After quickly browsing the internet and found someone with a similar situation, they suggested to make sure that the cutoff switch was on “use” and the inverter was on. I had a notion that the inverter was on all of the time as long as the “use” switch was in place.

We have a Xantrex XM1800 inverter wired in the basement with a digital display right at the door. There is a green button with a power symbol on the digital display that I pressed and viola, the fridge kicked on right away. Lesson learned the inverter is not on by default.

Water Pressure Drop – As if the loss of power in our first week was not already traumatic of an event, we also lost water pressure as well. One morning, I went to take a shower and the water just came dribbling out of the shower head. I went out and began investigating the situation outside. Our neighbor has a fancy water pressure gauge on their hose that read 10psi. When hooked up to water at the camp ground, the dependency for pressure comes from the hookup itself. Otherwise, if you were dry camping (without hookups), you would use the pump. With about 10 gallons of water in our fresh water tank, I was able to take a shower. The take away with this lesson, is to keep some water in your fresh water tank similar to keeping juice in your batteries just in case.

No matter how bad it seemed to be at the time, we are sitting here at the of our first week still alive and in one piece. Hindsight being 20/20, these issues really were not that big of a deal, especially once you are aware of the pitfalls and what your options are to react to them. Let’s see what the next week of full timing brings us .

Home is Now Where We Park It

We are leaving our home of 9 years to live in an RV full time. Beginning this week, we picked up our RV and beginning loading it for the road ahead.

For many years now, we have lived in a home firmly built on the ground. No doubt it has been a blessing to have a roof over our heads and give our kids a stable life. We became wrapped up in the American dream and bought into the idea that bigger is better. For years now, the mortgage of the current home we live in now has been like ball and chain and we’ve been looking for the market to return for many years now.

After nearly 5 months having the house on the market, we were blessed to enter into a contract with a great family who is going to buy our house.

While selling the house is one challenge, we were soon faced with the realization that we could not find anywhere else locally we want to live. We have spent most of our lives in the Orlando area, and looking for a change. After evaluating housing markets out of the area, we have quickly realized that traveling and staying in hotels is expensive.

Now, we are going to go on the road in search of our house while living full time in an RV for one year. Many believe that this is a dream and some think we are crazy. We believe that taking this journey in this way will serve our needs the best and give us the opportunity to spend the last few precious years with our daughter before she heads off to go live her own life.

For nearly a year now, we’ve been preparing to make this transition. We’ve had countless garage sales, donated quite a bit and carefully examining precisely what all that we really need. I would like to think that I’m a bit of a minimalist by nature but it is amazing how much stuff you still accumulate over a long period of time.

Last Friday, we brought the RV home and we loaded up for our first shake down trip to Wekiva Springs, a resort north of Orlando. This is our first week of full timing in an RV. The intent is to spend some time locally getting acquainted with the RV until we feel confident to start putting some miles on it.

Go into just about any RV shop, you’ll find “Home is Where You Park It” on all sorts of merchandise. At the end of the day,  it’s the familiar place you retreat to from the worries of the day and recenter your soul. Now we enter a new phase of our life where our home is wherever we park it.